Publications

This is a searchable catalogue of the College's most recent books, book chapters, journal articles and working papers. The ANU College of Law also publishes a Research Paper Series on SSRN.

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Equal Consideration and Informed Imagining: Recognising and Responding to the Lived Experiences of Abused Women Who Kill

Author(s): Anthony Hopkins

Equality is a fundamental concern of human existence. Expressed in the principle of equality before the law it requires that those who come before the law are entitled to be treated as being of equal value and to be given ‘equal consideration’. In circumstances where those who come before the law are marked by their differences, giving of equal consideration requires that difference be understood and taken into account. The identification of difference does not of itself determine the question of whether different treatment is warranted in the interests of equality. However, this article argues that understanding difference is a precondition for the promotion of true equality and that, in pursuit of understanding difference, it is necessary for us to acknowledge the limitations of our capacity to understand the lived experience of ‘others’ and to actively work to engage with these experiences. In the context of the criminal justice system, we over abused women who kill as illustrative of this need, focusing upon the availability and operation of self-defence in England/Wales, Queensland and Victoria. In doing so, we consider the capacity of the law, legal process and legal actors to engage with the lived experiences of these women, highlighting the im portance of ‘informed imagining’.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

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Lessons Lost in Sentencing: Welding Individualised Justice to Indigenous Justice

Author(s): Anthony Hopkins

Indigenous offenders are heavily over-represented in the Australian and Canadian criminal justice systems. In the case of R v Gladue, the Supreme Court of Canada held that sentencing judges are to recognise the adverse systemic and background factors that many Aboriginal Canadians face and consider all reasonable alternatives to imprisonment in light of this. In R v Ipeelee, the Court reiterated the need to fully acknowledge the oppressive environment faced by Aboriginal Canadians throughout their lives and the importance of sentencing courts applying appropriate sentencing options. In 2013, the High Court of Australia handed down its decision in Bugmy v The Queen. The Court affirmed that deprivation is a relevant consideration and worthy of mitigation in sentencing. However, the Court refused to accept that judicial notice should be taken of the systemic background of deprivation of many Indigenous offenders. The High Court also fell short of applying the Canadian principle that sentencing should promote restorative sentences for Indigenous offenders, given this oft-present deprivation and their over-representation in prison. In this article, we argue that Bugmy v The Queen represents a missed opportunity by the High Court to grapple with the complex interrelationship between individualised justice and Indigenous circumstances in the sentencing of Indigenous offenders.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Did Defensive Homicide in Victoria Provide a Safety Net for Battered Women Who Kill? A Case Study Analysis

Author(s): Anthony Hopkins

This article seeks to draw conclusions about the potential impact of the Crimes Amendment (Abolition of Defensive Homicide) Act 2014 (Vic). We do so by considering whether defensive homicide served as a safety net in the 2014 case of Director of Public Prosecutions (Vic) v Williams. The article presents a detailed analysis of the trial transcript and sentencing remarks to support the contention that the defence did in fact achieve this purpose. The conclusion rests, principally, upon understanding the jury finding that Williams killed in the belief that her actions were necessary for her own protection, but apparently determined that she had no reasonable grounds for that belief (thereby failing the legal test of self-defence as it then stood). Having looked at how the 2014 legislation also amended relevant evidence laws, and reinforced jury directions to accommodate considerations of family violence, we then consider the implications of these reforms for battered women who kill. We suggest that, in the absence of the offence of defensive homicide, women like Williams may in the future be convicted of murder, even when they kill in response to family violence and with a genuine belief that their actions are necessary in self-defence.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Did She Consent? Law and the Media in New South Wales

Author(s): Anthony Hopkins

Legislative reform to the law of sexual assault in New South Wales in 2007 emphasises that those who wish to engage in sexual intercourse must take steps to ensure that they do so with consent. The new laws’ intent was to ensure free, voluntary and communicated consent, and to punish those who take advantage of the intoxication of their victim, or seek to hide behind their own intoxication. Further, the intent was to promote awareness and expectation with respect to acceptable consensual sexual activity. This article identifies a discord between this legislative intent and the reporting and commentary in the newsprint media which continues to focus on victim intoxication and behaviour as a matter of ‘risk’. The contention here is that until the legislative intent is reflected in the newsprint media the national conversation on sexual assault will remain impoverished, limiting the potential to focus the spotlight on perpetrators.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Criminal Law: Defences to Homicide

Criminal Law: Defences to Homicide

Author(s): Anthony Hopkins

This chapter explores a few of the contexts and the defences for women who kill in Australia. Focusing on battered women who kill, women with PMS and women with post-partum depression, we examine what lawyers should look for in the cases, how to communicate with their clients most effectively to identify whether these background variables were present, possible pleas to argue, and how best to help the Court to hear the women’s case.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Walking in Her Shoes

Walking in Her Shoes: Battered Women Who Kill in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland

Author(s): Anthony Hopkins

In the light of the common law doctrine of self-defence in Australia, this article considers legislative reforms in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland to determine the extent to which they require judges and jurors to walk in the shoes of battered women in pursuit of an evaluation of reasonableness. It will be argued that, with the exception of Queensland, which has emphasised the necessity to judge reasonableness from the perspective of the battered woman only in so far as this may enable a verdict of murder to be reduced to manslaughter, the reforms have clarified or extended the common law position.

Read on SSRN

Centre: CIPL

Research theme: Criminal Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Law and Gender, Law and Social Justice, Legal Education, The Legal Profession

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team