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User Guide

1. Introduction

The ‘Principles and Practice’ component of the Commonwealth Sentencing Database has been developed primarily to assist judicial officers sentencing federal offenders. Part IB of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) provides a sentencing regime for federal offenders. However Part IB is not a comprehensive scheme listing all the principles that may govern the sentencing of a convicted federal offender. Some sections in Part IB expressly pick up and apply the sentencing law of the State or Territory in which the federal offender is sentenced. The provisions in the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) sit alongside the common law. This component refers to cases and other sources relevant to understanding Part IB, State and Territory law and the common law in so far as they relate to the sentencing of a convicted federal offender. Users can approach the guide in a number of ways:

2. Background and Purpose

The ‘Principles and Practice’ component is a joint project of the National Judicial College of Australia and the ANU College of Law. The purpose of the ‘Principles and Practice’ component is to describe and disseminate information on the federal sentencing regime set out in Part 1B of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth). In doing so, it aims to foster consistency in the sentencing of federal offenders. More specifically, the ‘Principles and Practice’ component seeks to provide a clear and concise guide to the rules, principles and considerations which arise in federal sentencing.  It provides commentary on each of the federal sentencing provisions and hyperlinks to cases and legislation.  The ‘Principles and Practice’ component aims to facilitate quick and easy access to leading cases, federal sentencing principles and developing federal sentencing practice. It is edited by Wendy Kukulies-Smith, a Teaching Fellow at the ANU College of Law.  The NJCA Research Assistants, Sophie Hewitt, Andrew Ray and Bridie Adams are responsible for content development and the day to day management of the database.

3. Layout of the database

The ‘Principles and Practice’ component has been divided into the following sections:
  1. Introduction to Part IB of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)
  2. Consistency in Federal Sentencing
  3. Sentencing Methodology
  4. General Sentencing Principles
  5. Sentencing Options
  6. Particular Issues in Sentencing
  7. Categories of Federal Offenders
  8. Ancillary Orders

3.1 Key Features

In the component, where a provision is cited on its own (for example, s 16A(2)) generally this is a reference to a provision of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth). References to provisions which are contained in other federal or State and Territory Acts are always fully referenced. Hyperlinks have been provided to online versions of the legislation rather than extracting the full provision in the commentary. The cases in this guide are linked to publicly available databases such as Austlii and State and Territory Court websites. Therefore case citations in this guide are frequently to the medium neutral citation (in accordance with where the link directs the user) rather than the reported series. Note: Austlii frequently lists the reported citations for a case. Each entry in the guide is contained on one continuous html page (which may equate to many printed pages) so that users may easily print off all the commentary for a particular issue. Where various provisions or principles interact, the commentary directs the user to other related and relevant entries in the guide. To assist with navigation within a page there is a list of hyperlinked subheadings at the beginning of each entry.

4. Feedback

This guide was developed by the National Judicial College of Australia and the ANU College of Law in conjunction with the Judicial Commission of New South Wales. The commentary has been reviewed by a panel of academics from the ANU College of Law and by a panel of Judicial Officers. We welcome feedback on the ‘Principles and Practice’ component. Comments and suggestions can be forwarded to the National Judicial College of Australia by email to

5. How to cite the database

To cite commentary on the Commonwealth Sentencing Database, use the following guide:
National Judicial College of Australia, Commentary Title (Full Date of Last Update) Commonwealth Sentencing Database <URL>. Example: National Judicial College of Australia, Hardship to the Offender (10 February 2015) Commonwealth Sentencing Database
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