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Business as usual? Bail decision making and "micro politics" in an Australian magistrates court


Travers, M, Business as usual? Bail decision making and "micro politics" in an Australian magistrates court, Law and Social Inquiry, 42, (2) pp. 325-346. ISSN 0897-6546 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2016 American Bar Foundation

DOI: doi:10.1111/lsi.12264


Between the 1970s and 1990s, political scientists in the United States pursued a distinctive research program that employed ethnographic methods to study micro politics in criminal courts. This article considers the relevance of this concept for court researchers today through a case study about bail decision making in a lower criminal court in Australia. It describes business as usual in how decisions are made and the provision of pretrial services. It also looks at how traditionalists and reformers understood business as usual, and uses this as a critical concept to make visible micro politics in this court. The case study raises issues about organizational change in criminal courts since the 1990s, since there are fewer studies about plea bargaining and more about specialist or problem-solving courts. It is suggested that we need a new international agenda that can address change and continuity in criminal courts.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:criminal justice, bail, politics
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Courts and sentencing
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Travers, M (Associate Professor Max Travers)
ID Code:113557
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2017-01-06
Last Modified:2022-06-16

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