Unfitness to Plead Final report

Unfitness to plead laws in Australia have been widely recognised as requiring reform and modernisation. The Unfitness to Plead Project sought to develop practical and legal options to address the problem of people with cognitive disabilities being found unfit to plead and subject to indefinite detention.

According to the research team’s final report, people with cognitive disabilities face barriers across the entire criminal justice system. Disadvantages identified include:

  • Inaccessible court proceedings that rely on complex language;
  • Inconsistent availability of support throughout court proceedings;
  • Under-resourced legal services;
  • Long delays in proceedings involving accused people with cognitive disabilities;
  • The “criminalisation of disabilities” whereby the environmental causes of difficult behaviour are ignored or played down, or behaviour associated with a disability is misinterpreted as defiance.
Download report in variety of formats (off-site)
Legal, Corrections, Justice System

Unfitness to Plead Project

Melbourne Social Equity Institute

Date published:
Thu 7th Sep, 2017