Drug courts in Australia

Caitlin Hughes, Marian Shanahan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter outlines the use of drug courts in Australia. Australia
is a federated country with eight states and territories and nine legal
systems (covering the federal system and each state/territory), albeit
most of the policing and administration of courts and legislation
occurs in the states and territories. It is geographically a large country
with a relatively small population (24 million). Drug courts were
first opened in one state in Australia in 1999 and have subsequently
been introduced into most of Australia’s eight states and territories.
As this chapter will demonstrate, while drug courts are an important
part of the Australian criminal justice response to drugs, they are
part of a broad range of drug diversionary responses that range from
pre-arrest to post-court interventions (Hughes and Ritter, 2008).
Australian drug courts typically focus on drug-dependent offenders
who have committed drug-related offences, and they often serve
as the last resort in the continuum of responses to drug use and
offending. This means the role and target group of drug
courts differ to many other countries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRethinking drug courts - International experiences of a US policy export
EditorsJohn Collins, Winifred Agnew-Pauley, Alexander Soderholm
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherLondon School of Economics
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781907994869, 9781907994876
ISBN (Print)978-1-907994-85-2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


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