eCite Digital Repository

The purposes of punishment: how do judges apply a legislative statement of sentencing purposes?


Warner, Kate and Davis, J and Cockburn, H, The purposes of punishment: how do judges apply a legislative statement of sentencing purposes?, Criminal Law Journal, 41 pp. 69-85. ISSN 0314-1160 (2017) [Refereed Article]

Restricted - Request a copy

Copyright Statement

© 2017 Thomson Reuters (Professional) Australia Limited

Official URL:


Despite abundant academic debate about the justification for criminal punishment, the frequent revisiting of how to deal legislatively with the purposes of a sentence by law reform bodies and some legal analysis of appellate guidance on the purposes of sentence, little attention has been given to judges’ reliance on the purposes of sentence in their sentencing remarks. This article attempts to close this gap by analysing the sentencing remarks in trials obtained for a study of jurors’ views of sentencing in Victoria. Against the backdrop of the Victorian legislation, the article examines the extent to which judges advert to the purposes of sentence in their reasons and how they rank and prioritise the purposes including in cases where there was a statutory requirement to prioritise incapacitation. Explanations for judges’ preferences are suggested including that purposes serve as proxies for statements about the seriousness of the crime.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:law, sentencing, judges
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Public law
Research Field:Public law not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Warner, Kate (Professor Kate Warner)
UTAS Author:Cockburn, H (Dr Helen Cockburn)
ID Code:118629
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2017-07-14
Last Modified:2018-05-17

Repository Staff Only: item control page