Justice for Defendants with Personality Disorders

Jamie Walvisch Impact Story image

Dr Jamie Walvisch’s research on crime and mental health has helped inform court decisions on personality disorders. His research with Associate Professor Andrew Carroll highlighted problems with a legal principle which prevented personality disorders from properly being taken into account in sentencing. Working with Tim Marsh from Victoria Legal Aid, they developed a test case to challenge this principle. This case was successful, and the Victorian Court of Appeal changed its approach to sentencing offenders with personality disorders in the case of Brown v The Queen.1 Under the revised approach, sentencing judges may now fully take personality disorders into account, providing justice for vulnerable offenders and better protection for the community.

Dr Walvisch, Associate Professor Carroll and Mr Marsh are continuing to conduct research in the area, addressing the implications of the Brown decision for legal and mental health practitioners.

1Brown v The Queen [2020] VSCA 212.