About this research stream

In many areas of the justice system, the law makes assumptions about human behaviour. These include standards for the mental competence of individuals to stand trial, the ability of jurors to understand the law, consistency in sentencing, and the impact of judicial interactions on those coming before the court.

Where these assumptions are wrong, the consequences can be extremely serious and lead to unjust outcomes. Psychological research can be used to examine these assumptions and determine approaches to bring the law in line with a realistic understanding of human psychology. 

Our research on psychology and legal processes focuses on: 

  • the operation and effectiveness of specialist courts 
  • people’s perceptions of the fairness of the justice system 
  • juror and judicial decision making 
  • competency and unfitness to stand trial

Relevant projects 

  • Evaluation of the specialist family violence court and family violence reforms 
  • Evaluation of group conferencing in the children’s court on reducing youth offending 
  • Examining jury comprehension of judicial instructions 
  • Effectiveness of judicial supervision of perpetrators in mainstream courts

Highlighted publications

Trood, M. D., Spivak, B. L., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2021). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of judicial supervision on recidivism and well-being factors of criminal offenders. Journal of Criminal Justice, 74, 1-23, Article 101796. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2021.101796

Blake, G. A., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2020). The correlates of unfitness to stand trial in Victoria, Australia. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 20(1), 48-62. https://doi.org/10.1080/14999013.2020.1812013

Spivak, B., Ogloff, J. R. P., Clough, J., Tinsley, Y., & Young, W. (2020). The impact of fact-based instructions on juror application of the law: Results from a trans-Tasman field study. Social Science Quarterly, 101 (1), 346-361. 

Blake, G.A., Ogloff, J. R. P. & Chen, W. S. (2019). Meta-analysis of second generation competency to stand trial assessment measures: Preliminary findings.  International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 64, 238-249. 

Clough, J., Spivak, B., Ogloff, J. R. P., Ruffles, J., Goodman-Delahunty, J., & Young, W. (2019). The Jury Project 10 Years On – Practices of Australian and New Zealand Judges.  Melbourne, Australia: Australian Institute of Judicial Administration 

Trood, M. D., Spivak, B. L., Sivasubramaniam, D., & Shepherd, S. (2022). Magistrates’ experiences of judicial supervision in mainstream courts. Journal of Judicial Administration, 31(3), 115-137.

Spivak, B., Ogloff, J.R.P., & Clough, J. (2019). Asking the right questions: Examining the efficacy of fact-based instructions as a method of improving lay comprehension and application of legal concepts. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 26 (3), 441-456 

Clough, J., Spivak, B., Ogloff, J. R. P., Tinsley, Y., & Young, W. (2018). The judge as cartographer and guide: The role of fact-based directions in improving juror comprehension. Criminal Law Review, 42, 278 -294. 

Trood, M. D., Spivak, B. L., & Ogloff, J. R. P. (2022). The effects of judicial supervision on recidivism of offenders in Australia and New Zealand: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychiatry, psychology, and law, 29(5), 651-678. https://doi.org/10.1080/13218719.2021.1956385

Ogloff, J. R. P., Ruffles, J., & Sullivan, D. (2018). Addressing Needs and Strengthening Services: Review of the Queensland Forensic Disability Service System. Brisbane, QLD: Department of Health and the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors.

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Contact the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science

There are many ways to engage with us. Whether you’re a student, from the media or an organisation interested in our professional development and training programs or consulting services, contact us on +61 3 9214 3887 or via cfbs@swinburne.edu.au

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