Small changes could save the prison system millions and save lives

This article was published on The Age on 25/8/17

The system must recognise the challenges experiences by a person with an ABI

Criminal justice processes can be alienating and confusing to even the most legally capable of people. I remember well how confronted I felt when, in Opposition, I appeared in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a Freedom of Information application. I was a lawyer. I was a Member of Parliament. It should have been a walk in the park. Yet the environment and the adversarial nature of the cross-examination process left me somewhat disorientated and disenchanted.

What must it be like, then, for people who have experienced multiple forms of disadvantage throughout their lives? What must it be like for people with an acquired brain injury, people who – for reasons of trauma, comprehension difficulties or simply the multiple forms of disadvantage often associated with ABI – have limited capacity to understand or trust the system into which they have been thrown?

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Rob Hulls, Director, Centre for Innovative Justice


Koori Courts help to balance the scales

This article was published on The Australian on 9/6/17

CCkC logo final
Image: County Court Victoria
Around 30 years ago I worked as a lawyer for the Aboriginal Legal Service in northwest Queensland. One day I was sitting in on a Coroner’s Court matter in Mt Isa, waiting for my case to be called, when an old Aboriginal man took the stand as a witness to a fatal vehicle collision.

After being sworn in to give evidence about something in which he had no direct involvement, however, this man looked slowly around at the sea of white faces and said simply: “I plead guilty.”

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Rob Hulls, Director, Centre for Innovative Justice


Judiciary does a difficult job and does it well

This article appeared in the Herald Sun opinion pages on 5/12/17

Golden Lady Justice, Bruges, Belgium
Photograph: Emmanuel Huybrechts, Flickr

A curious thing happened on the pages of the Herald Sun newspaper recently (Friday, 25 November). Tom Elliott argued that ordinary Victorians should not be compelled to vote if they had no interest in the process… yet simultaneously insisted that our judiciary should be elected, because democratic processes were essential!

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Rob Hulls, Director, Centre for Innovative Justice


Supermax proposal a path to a dark and expensive place

This article was published in the Herald Sun on 28/9/17


Proposals for a ‘mini supermax’ facility aired in this publication smack of a push towards Victoria’s very own ‘Don Dale’.

While safety –  of the community, of staff and of detainees – must be paramount, suggestions by CPSU spokesperson Julian Kennelly that Victoria’s ‘most hardened young offenders’ be housed in a separate, high security facility edge us closer to a draconian response which, evidence shows, simply does not work.

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Rob Hulls, Director, Centre for Innovative Justice