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Court Observation Report

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Human Rights, Human Services and the Law                  


Based on attendance of a criminal court

Weight: 40%

Length: 2000 words

Please name the referred source in front of each paragraph

SECTION ONE: Court Report Questionnaire (200 words)

weight 10%

(I have attached the Court Report Questionnaire in separate document) –Please fill the document in your experience or use some online Australian court

This will help you record basic details of what you have observed in court. Don’t worry about names of parties/defendants, in fact try to anonymise any personal details of litigants/defendants.

Use the questionnaire to identify an issue/aspect of court proceedings that you can research and write about.

SECTION TWO: (1800-2000 words)

Observe court proceedings

Evaluate the quality of justice delivered.

You should deal with access to representation and the conduct of the proceedings as part of your report.

However, you are able to choose any aspect of court proceedings which you have observed as the foundation for your report.

FORMAT (Report style, mandatory subheadings)

  • Introduction: 150 words

Briefly outline the aspect of court proceedings that you have decided to focus on and why it is important. (please refer Essential references)

Literature review: 200- 600 words

What questions and concerns about justice have been raised by the essential references?

Refer to other theoretical perspectives in other references

  • Observations and Evaluation: 1200 -1800 words observation section- maximum 70%.
  • Present your observational data within a narrative structure that tells a story about the major findings that can be derived from your court/tribunal visit – refer to your questionnaire for details.
  • Keep your question/issue in mind when you are presenting this data. Highlight any significant incidents but also give an overall account of the experience of justice that typical participants might have in this court.
  • Evaluation: Interpret your data in relation to your question.

What is the significance of your findings/observations? How do they relate to the theoretical material?

  • Conclusion: 100- 300 words Summarise your main findings in relation to your question


Essential references

Mack, K. & Roach- Anleu, S. (2007) ‘ “Getting through the list”: Judge craft and legitimacy in the lower courts’ Social and Legal Studies, vol.16, pp. 341-61       ( This reference attached to the file)

Brown et al, Criminal Laws: Materials and Commentary on Criminal Law and Process in New South Wales, (5th edition, Federation Press, 2011), pp. 142-166   ( This reference attached to the file)

Additional references

Daly, K. (2012) ‘ The aims of the criminal justice system’ in Malmo, de Lint and Palmer (2012) Crime and justice: A guide to criminology 4th edition, Law Book Company      ( This reference attached to the file)

Please use bellow link as a reference

Gray, A.S., Forrell, S. &Clarke, S.  (2009)  ‘Cognitive impairment, legal need and access to justice’, Justice Issues, Paper 10 Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales ( this reference attached to the file)

Library reading list (not essential)

McBarnet, D (1981) Conviction: Law, the state and the construction of justice London, Macmillan (on reserve)

Parliament of Australia, Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee (2004) Inquiry into Legal Aid and Access to Justice

This report has many relevant chapters including the following (Chapter 10: ‘ Self-Represented Litigants’),  (Chapter 5: Indigenous Legal Services) Chapter 8  Other Groups with Particular Needs) Assessments -Court report resources

Roach- Anleu S., Mack, K. (2007) ‘Magistrates, Magistrates Courts and Social Change’, Law and Policy vol. 29, no.2 pp. 183-209

Library reading list

Tait, D (1999) ‘Boundaries and Barriers: The Social Production of Space in Magistrates Courts and Guardianship Tribunals Journal of Social Change and Critical Inquiry, 1.    Library reading list

Tait, D (2003) ‘The Ritual Environment of the Mental Health Tribunal Hearing: Inquires and reflections’, Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, vol.10 pp. 91-96      Library reading list

Vanny, K. A., Levy, M. H., Greenberg D. M &. Hayes, S.C (2009)   ‘Mental Illness and Intellectual Disability in Courts’, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research vol. 5     Library reading list

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