‘Intoxication’ in Australian Criminal Law: From Public Order Policing to Sexual Assault Trials - Luke McNamara and Julia Quilter

Professor Luke McNamara (UNSW) and Dr Julia Quilter (Woolongong University) will be speaking on ‘Intoxication’ in Australian Criminal Law: From Public Order Policing to Sexual Assault Trials.

The Centre for Criminal Justice Studies is delighted to announce that Professor Luke McNamara and Dr Julia Quilter will be visiting the Centre during October and delivering a public lecture which will appeal to anyone with an interest in criminal justice, public policy, public spaces, alcohol and drug control and policing. 


This seminar will discuss the findings of a study of how the state of ‘intoxication’ produced by the consumption of alcohol and/or other drugs is treated by the criminal law and the criminal justice system in Australia. The study involved collecting and analysing more than 500 statutory provisions which attach significance to the fact of a person’s ‘intoxication’ for a variety of purposes, and 330 appellate court decisions from all Australian jurisdictions in which the court considered evidence that the accused, the victim or a witness was ‘intoxicated’ at the time of the alleged commission of a criminal offence. We will discuss: the multiple and divergent ways in which ‘intoxication’ is implicated in criminal justice decision-making; the implications of a widespread pattern of under-definition, which means that assessments of intoxication are often based on highly subjective or ‘common sense’ criteria; and draw attention to areas that demand further research. In particular, we will discuss the need to better understand how intoxication evidence is introduced and interpreted in sexual assault matters.

About the Speakers

Professor Luke McNamara is a Professor and Co-Director of the Centre for Crime, Law and Justice in the Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales. His current research examines the patterns, drivers, modalities and effects of criminalisation as a public policy tool, with a focus on the regulation of diverse behaviours and activities in public places. Dr Julia Quilter is an Associate Professor and member of the Legal Intersections Research Centre in the School of Law at the University of Wollongong. She researches in the areas of criminal law and criminal justice policy with a particular focus on alcohol-related violence, sexual violence and public order regulation. Their recent study of intoxication and Australian criminal law (a collaboration with Professor Robin Room, La Trobe University, and Dr Kate Seear, Monash University) was funded under the Australian Institute of Criminology’s Criminology Research Grant scheme.

Dr Julia Quilter specialises in research and teaching on criminal law and criminal justice policy and reform, employing multi-disciplinary theoretical, doctrinal and empirical methods. Recent projects have examined criminal law responses to alcohol-related violence and ‘one punch’ fatalities and sexual assault, and the operation of public order laws and local council rules regulating the use of public space. She is currently leading an interdisciplinary research project, funded by the Australian Institute of Criminology’s Criminology Research Grants Program, which examines Australian criminal laws’ treatment of intoxication, and she is part of a team of researchers undertaking a major national study of criminalisation – the deployment of criminal punishment and police powers as public policy tools in response to a diverse range of identified harms and risks.

Dr Quilter is a graduate of Sydney University (BA (Hons) with the University Medal), UNSW (LLB with the University Medal) and Monash University (PhD). Prior to joining the University of Wollongong in 2010, she spent ten years practising as a solicitor and barrister, working mainly in public law and criminal law. She worked at the NSW State Crown Solicitor’s Office and was the Special Counsel to the NSW Solicitor General and Crown Advocate, appearing as junior counsel in constitutional and criminal law matters in the High Court, NSW Court of Appeal and NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

In 2015, Julia was the recipient of an OLT national Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning as part of the First Year Law Integration Team. In 2016, she was named one of UOW’s Women of Impact and she discusses her research and experiences in this video: Justice in Law. Associate Professor Quilter is a regular media commentator and has published widely on criminal law and justice issues. She recently delivered a TedX talk, ‘When is Criminal Law the Answer?’.  She also discusses her research on the One Punch and Lockout Laws with In the Loop - Wollongong.

Please click here to register for Luke and Julia's lecture.

The lecture will be followed by a wine reception. 

Location Details

School of Law
Liberty Building
University of Leeds

For sat navs, please use the postcode for Moorland Road, LS6 1AN. 

The Liberty Building can also be found on the campus map

All welcome. This is a free event, though registration is required.

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