Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


6000 level

Course handbook


This course will cover a range of sentencing issues in the criminal justice system from both national and international perspectives at an advanced level. There will be advanced analysis of the theoretical purposes of sentencing, the principles of sentencing and their practical application in contemporary sentencing systems. This will include analysis of sentencing for transnational criminal offences, such as terrorism, people smuggling, drug trafficking and war crimes (genocide, etc.). The role of the International Criminal Court in sentencing will be evaluated. There will also be a current issues topic, which will focus on advanced analysis and evaluation of high profile current issues in sentencing in both Australian and international contexts.


Not currently offered.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge and advanced understanding of the current theoretical and practical issues relating to sentencing in Australian and international contexts.

2. Demonstrate critical understanding of the nature and purpose of sentencing in contemporary sentencing systems and the role of the International Criminal Court in sentencing.

3. Apply knowledge and advanced understanding of high profile current issues in sentencing in both Australian and international contexts.

4. Analyse and apply principles of law in the specific context of the advanced study of sentencing law and practice.

5. Apply the skills of legal research, through oral and written communication, synthesis and analysis of primary and secondary legal materials, and analysis and evaluation of competing policy considerations.


The content in this course includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Purposes of sentencing " theories, trends and perspectives on retribution, incapacitation (protection of the community), deterrence, rehabilitation and denunciation.
  2. Restorative justice " theoretical and practical perspectives on the global operation of restorative justice, including therapeutic jurisprudence, global prevention programs, diversion programs and community practice, global correctional and re-entry programs, community restoration and reparation
  3. Principles of sentencing " proportionality, parsimony, equal application, human rights and dignity.
  4. The approach of the courts to sentencing " global practical perspectives on judicial methodology and approaches to sentencing, guideline judgments, legislative measures, grid sentencing, standard minimum and mandatory sentencing.
  5. Sentencing for transnational criminal offences " terrorism, people smuggling, drug trafficking, war crimes, role of the International Criminal Court.
  6. Life imprisonment " global perspectives on the meaning and practical application of this ultimate punishment including consideration of "life without parole" sentences across the world (recent US Supreme Court decision of Miller v Alabama 567 US (2012) banning use of this sentence for juveniles as a violation to the 8th Amendment of the US Constitution).
  7. Current Issues - Impact of public opinion on sentencing policy and practice, Judicial sentencing discretion and techniques for reducing disparity in sentencing, conferencing and forum sentencing or such topics as from time to time reflect current reform and critical comment in sentencing.


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Juris Doctor/ Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice or Master of Laws programs.

Assumed knowledge

For Juris Doctor/Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice students: LAWS6003A and LAWS6003B Criminal Law & Procedure Parts A & B For Master of Laws students: Nil

Assessment items

Presentation: Presentations - Individual

Report: Research Paper

Online Learning Activity: Reflective online blog