Exploring juvenile fitness for trial in Queensland

Jodie O'Leary, Suzie O'Toole*, Bruce D. Watt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study presents data on the number of juveniles raising and being found unfit to stand trial in Queensland courts and investigates why Queensland juveniles are half as likely as adults to be found unfit to stand trial. The article briefly sets out the legal regimes determining questions of fitness in Queensland. The developmental characteristics of juveniles are explored, indicating that juveniles are more likely than adults to suffer from deficits in areas relevant to trial fitness. Some hypotheses regarding the low rate of applications and findings of juvenile unfitness are considered, including failings by legal practitioners to identify juveniles who potentially lack fitness; tactical decisions by legal practitioners who decide against formally raising unfitness; and shortcomings and confusion surrounding the law and procedure in relation to trial fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-866
Number of pages14
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Issue number6
Early online date28 Nov 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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