Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Griffith University
Website URL
Historical criminology, criminal prosecution, history of the guilty plea, policing history, property offending
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Lisa Durnian is a Phd student who has recently submitted her thesis for examination. ‘The rise of the guilty plea in Australian Supreme Courts: A history’ examines the system transformation in the criminal prosecution process from the jury trial to the current guilty plea system. Previous research focuses on the emergence of plea bargaining in the nineteenth century as the explanatory factor for this shift. However, most Australian defendants continued pleading guilty to serious criminal offences well into the twentieth century. Lisa’s research therefore widens the scope of study by exploring the practices and processes influencing defendants’ guilty pleas in serious property offence cases prior to and during the transition to a guilty plea system, from 1926 to 1961.

Recent Publications

Durnian, L. (forthcoming). “Your troubles are over, Mummy”: Prosecuting children who kill violent men In A. Piper & A. Stevenson (Eds.), Gender violence in Australia: Historical perspectives. Melbourne, Victoria: Monash University Press.


Piper, A. & Durnian, L. (2017). Theft on trial: Prosecution, conviction and sentencing patterns in colonial Victoria and Western Australia. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 50(1), 5-22. doi:10.1177/0004865815620684.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Australia, North America
Expertise by Chronology
20th century
Expertise by Topic