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About Us

Our History

The role of the Commonwealth Sentencing Database (CSD) is to promote inter-jurisdictional consistency and provide information to judicial officers when sentencing federal offenders. The CSD was established in response to recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) in their 2006 report ‘Same Crime, Same Time: Sentencing of Federal Offenders’:
Recommendation 19–5: The NJCA, in consultation with courts and judicial education bodies, should develop a publicly accessible bench book providing general guidance for judicial officers on federal sentencing law. The bench book should indicate how federal sentencing law interacts with relevant state and territory law in each jurisdiction, and should include commentary on special categories of federal offenders. Recommendation 21–1: In order to promote consistency in the sentencing of federal offenders, the Australian Government should continue to support the development of a comprehensive national database on the sentences imposed on all federal offenders. The database should include information on the type and quantum of sentences imposed and the characteristics of the offence and the offender that have been taken into account in imposing the sentence. The data should be made widely available for use by judicial officers, prosecutors, defence lawyers, researchers and members of the public.
Recommendation 19–5 is implemented through Principles and Practice. Recommendation 21–1 is broadly implemented through the CSD’s Summaries, Statistics, and Comparative Sentencing Tables components.

See further: Australian Law Reform Commission, Same Crime, Same Time: Sentencing of Federal Offenders, (Report No 103, 13 September 2006).

The CSD is a project of the National Judicial College of Australia. Funding is provided by the Commonwealth Government.

Our Team


The Commonwealth Sentencing Database is a project central to the National Judicial College of Australia’s mission of comprehensive and consistent judicial education. The Database is developed and maintained by the NJCA research staff and made possible by ongoing grants from the Commonwealth Government.

The ‘Principles & Practice’ component provides concise commentary on the applicable sentencing principles for Commonwealth criminal offences and summaries of recent cases. Commentary on sentencing principles is updated by NJCA researchers and approved by an academic panel. The panel comprises Naomi Wootton (Barrister, Editor of the CSD), Professor Mark Nolan (Director, Centre for Law and Justice, CSU), Dr Anthony Hopkins (Associate Professor, ANU College of Law), Dr Faith Gordon (Senior Lecturer, ANU College of Law), Deputy Chief Magistrate Anthony Gett (Queensland Magistrates Court), and Judge Laury Levy (District Court of Western Australia). Principles & Practice is managed by CSD Senior Researcher Hamish McKinnon and NJCA Research Assistant Indigo Casablanca.

The Comparative Sentencing Tables component combines quantitative data with qualitative information about the facts of individual cases, so as to enable useful comparison of analogous cases. This project is managed by Senior Researcher Benjamin Ettinger and NJCA Research Assistants Daniel Marns and Lachlan Cameron.

The CSD acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and their deep connection to the land. We acknowledge that we are on the land of the traditional owners and pay respects to Elders past and present.

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