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General / Thematic: The Individual Judge

The Innovative Magistrate and Legitimacy: Lessons for a Mobile ‘Solution-Focused’ Model


Sarah Murray, Tamara Tulich and Harry Blagg

Australian magistrates face many challenges in their work: heaving courtrooms, unrelenting court lists and cases involving a complex web of legally-knotted psychosocial issues. Innovative practices by a magistrate – creative ways of engaging with defendants, partnering with support services, and novel sentencing methods – can become essential for courtroom survival. Such methods may represent a challenge to the legitimacy, expectations and traditional practice of the wider court of which that magistrate forms a part.[1] However, a failure to seek new solutions can risk the court losing its relevancy.

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(2017) 40(2) UNSWLJ 897:

  1. See, eg, Kathy Mack and Sharyn Roach Anleu, ‘Opportunities for New Approaches to Judging in a Conventional Context: Attitudes, Skills and Practices’ (2011) 37 Monash University Law Review 187, 192–3; Jelena Popovic, ‘Court Process and Therapeutic Jurisprudence: Have We Thrown the Baby Out with the Bath Water?’ (2007) Special Series eLaw: Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law 60 <>.