Completed projects

Sentencing - Question Papers 1-4 (2012)     ​

We released for public comment the first four question papers relating to the review of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) ('the Act') in 2012.

These question papers outline and discuss some of the most fundamental aspects of sentencing law and ask questions designed to encourage a critical review of the assumptions underpinning this vital area of the law.

Question Paper 1 - addressed the purposes of sentencing contained in s 3A of the Act.

Question Paper 2 - discussed common law sentencing principles.

Question Paper 3 - analysed the factors to be taken into account on sentence, many of which are currently contained in the list of 'aggravating' and 'mitigating' factors found in s 21A of the Act.

Question Paper 4 - considered other discounting factors on sentence such as a discount for a guilty plea.

The question papers addressed the issues that arose most commonly in sentencing practice, both in the Local Court and the higher courts, whether or not imprisonment is imposed.

For ease of reference, we extracted the questions from each question paper into a separate document - Consultation Papers 1-4: Consolidated questions.

Sentencing - Question Papers 5-7 (2012)

We released for public comment a further three question papers relating to the review of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) ('the Act') following on from Question Papers 1-4.

The papers examined full-time imprisonment and the various other custodial and non-custodial sentencing options. They also asked whether there are other sentencing options which could be introduced in addition to the existing options.

Question Paper 5: Full-time imprisonment  - examined structures of full-time imprisonment, including short terms of imprisonment, reviewing the balance between non-parole and parole periods, and aggregate sentences.

Question Paper 6: Intermediate custodial sentencing options  - analysed the intermediate custodial alternatives to full-time imprisonment and asked how they could be improved:

  • compulsory drug treatment detention;
  • home detention;
  • intensive correction orders;
  • suspended sentences; and
  • rising of the court.

It also asked whether there are other intermediate custodial sentencing options (such as periodic detention) which could be introduced in addition to these existing options.

Question Paper 7: Non-custodial sentencing options  - analysed the non-custodial alternatives and asked how they could be improved:

  • community service orders;
  • s 9 bonds;
  • fines; and
  • non-conviction orders.

It also asked whether there are other non-custodial sentencing options (such as work development orders and fines held in trust) which could be introduced in addition to these existing options.

For ease of reference, we have extracted the questions from each question paper into a separate document - Consultation Papers 5-7: Consolidated questions.​

Sentencing - Question Papers 8-12 (2012)                

We released for public comment the final five question papers relating to the review of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) in late 2012.

These papers addressed greater flexibility in combining sentencing options, schemes for diversion and deferral of sentencing, ancillary orders, special categories of offenders, and jurisdictional and procedural aspects.

Question Paper 8: The structure and hierarchy of sentencing options  - addressed the broad question of the structure and hierarchy of sentencing options that may be imposed by the courts. We asked a series of questions to determine whether:

  • legislation should specify a hierarchy of sentences;
  • the structure of sentences should be made more flexible; and
  • there should be any restrictions on the combination of sentences that are allowed.

Question Paper 9: Alternative approaches to criminal offending  - considered ways in which offenders or suspects can be dealt with without entering the court system, or if they do, how the courts may divert or defer finalising their matters with a view to aiding their rehabilitation and achieving positive outcomes for the community and victims.

Question Paper 10: Ancillary orders  - considered the orders that are ancillary to sentencing:

  • compensation orders;
  • driver licence disqualification; and
  • non-association and place restriction orders,

and asked whether they are currently effective and whether any changes need to be made to integrate them more fully into the structure of sentencing.

Question Paper 11: Special categories of offenders  - considered the issues relating to some groups of offenders which may require special consideration either because they are overrepresented in the criminal justice system or because particular sentences affect members of these groups differently when compared with other offenders:

  • indigenous offenders;
  • offenders with cognitive and mental health impairments;
  • women; and
  • corporations.

Question Paper 12: Procedural and jurisdictional aspects  - dealt with procedural and jurisdictional aspects of sentencing, looking particularly at innovations that could be adopted to simplify the operation of the law and enhance the transparency and consistency of decision-making. We also looked at how technology could be used to make the courts more efficient and accessible.

For ease of reference, we have extracted the questions from each question paper into a separate document - Consultation Papers 8-12: Consolidated questions.​