EXTERNALLY FUNDED RESEARCH PROJECTS
What would a barrister do? Would an early interventionist judicial direction framework change the approach of prosecutors or defence counsel in rape trials?
Despite much legislative intervention, conviction rates in rape trials have dropped from approximately 50 per cent (1991) to 3 per cent (2010) in Victoria. It is commonly recognised that defence barristers deploy rape myths to win acquittals for their clients. This project will fill a significant gap in knowledge about how barristers interpret and apply jury directions in rape trials. This project uses interviews and workshops with barristers, legal academics and postgraduate students to find out how barristers prepare case plans for rape trials, and especially how they interpret, anticipate and respond to jury directions in relation to rape myths.
This project aims to:
- understand how barristers prepare case plans for rape trials and the ways in which barristers interpret and respond to jury directions in rape trials
- test whether barristers would change the way they construct their case plans in the face of alternative delivery methods of jury directions.
This project involves:
- semi-structured interviews with practicing barristers
- workshops with barristers, where each participant constructed a case plan for a hypothetical rape trial using the same fact pattern with a variable jury direction delivery method.
Interviews and workshops were recorded and are now being analysed according to the themes and aims of the project.