Cheap and Efficient Justice? Neoliberal Discourse and Criminal Infringement Notices

University of Western Australia
Publication Type:
Journal Article
University of Western Australia Law Review, 2019, 45 (2), pp. 65 - 98
Issue Date:
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Criminal infringement notices (CINs) are now a familiar component of the criminal justice system, especially in the policing of public order and minor offences. Successive Australian state and territory governments have implemented CIN schemes with the objective of reducing administrative demands and trial backlogs, cutting down on paperwork, freeing up police time, saving costs and keeping police ‘on the beat’. This article examines how CINs have been rationalised on the basis of neoliberal economic values, which have overshadowed ordinary criminal justice concerns of morality and responsibility. It focuses on the introduction of criminal code infringement notices in Western Australia for two offences: disorderly behaviour, and steal anything up to the value of $500. The author argues that there is a need to recognise—and to resist—the encroachment of neoliberal economisation discourses into the realm of criminal law.
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