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"In sentencing and exacting punishment, the community acts in its most coercive way."

Alfred Deakin Professor is the most prestigious title the University can bestow upon its staff. In late 2015, Deakin Law School Professor Mirko Bagaric received the award for his academic excellence, reflecting his prodigious achievements in the area of punishment and sentencing, as well as migration and refugee law and human rights law.

The prime focus of Professor Bagaric’s research is on punishment and sentencing law and accordingly, he has produced an extensive body of highly-regarded work in that area. In 2016, he plans to leverage his expertise in this field by establishing a Centre for Sentencing at Deakin Law School. Professor Bagaric hopes to create a body that will promote ways to make sentencing fairer and more efficient. Ultimately, he wants the centre to inform and influence government decision-making in this area.

It was through his work as a criminal defence lawyer 15 years ago, that Professor Bagaric’s interest in punishment and sentencing developed. Via his practice, he determined that the orthodox framework for punishing people was unsound because it was transparent, predictable and failed to demonstrate important objectives. His view that punishment is too important to be left to the whims of anyone led him to explore the intellectual depths surrounding the rules and practices in sentencing law.

‘In sentencing and exacting punishment, the community acts in its most coercive way against other areas of people, and I am emphatic about the importance of getting this right,’ he says.

In pursuing his passion, he has successfully influenced public debate and legislative change in the area of sentencing, as well as refugee law. He has authored, or co-authored over 30 books. His most recent release is the third edition of Sentencing in Australia, which provides an up-to-date overview and explanation of sentencing law and practice in Australia. Professor Bagaric has also produced over 130 articles in leading international journals and in excess of 500 newspaper articles, which have been published in all of the major Australian dailies, as well as in New Zealand and Indonesia. His work has been cited in over 50 court judgements, including the High Court of Australia.

Also current Chair of Deakin Law School, Professor Bagaric enjoys working at Deakin because it is an innovative and progressive institute. ‘The University encourages high-quality research that will make the community a better place than if it had not been undertaken.’