Guideline Judgments in Victoria: An Examination of the Issues
journal contributionposted on 29.10.2019, 08:26 by Beth Crilly
The Sentencing (Amendment) Act 2003 (Vic) commenced on 1 July 2004, giving the Victorian Court of Appeal the statutory power to hand down guideline judgments. This article examines the issues arising fromt his reform. In particular, it discusses whether guideline judgments can achieve their aim of improving consistency in sentencing, concluding that while guidelines are unlikely to increase consistencyof result, they may lead to increased consistency of approach to sentencing. The aim of increasing public confidence is also examined, and it is found that guideline judgments have the capacity to act as an excellent tool for increasing public confidence in sentencing. The article also explores the specific legal difficulties that guideline judgments present for Victoria, including the hostility of the judiciary towards guidelines, the seeming incompatibility of guideline judgments with the instinctive synthesis approach to sentencing and the issues guideline judgments present for individualised justice. Finally, a range of suggestions are presented for how guideline judgments can be successfully and usefully implemented by the Court of Appeal. While the article is primarily aimed at the Victorian jurisdictions, whether they currently use guideline judgments, or are considering utilising them in the future. This article endeavours to state the law to at least May 2005.