News Archive



Sharyn and Kathy have both given presentations at a number of important recent local, national and international events. All presentations are co-authored by both Sharyn and Kathy. During a visit to Cardiff University in September and October 2018, Sharyn gave a public lecture entitled ‘Judging and Emotion’ at the Centre of Law and Society at Cardiff University and a presentation entitled ‘Emotion, Feeling Rules and the Ideal Defendant’. Sharyn presented the paper ‘Emotions Work as Judicial Work’,  to Uncloaking the Judiciary: The Judicial Role, Style and Image, The Judiciary Project, held at the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, UNSW, Sydney on 9 July 2018.The paper ‘Managing Judicial Emotions’, was presented by Sharyn as part of the Law and Emotions Collaborative Research Network panel at the Law & Society Association Annual Meeting  held in Toronto, Canada, from 7-10 June 2018.Sharyn presented the paper ‘A Sociological Perspective on Emotion Work and Judging’  to a workshop hosted by the International Institute for the Sociology of Law Judging, Emotion and Emotion Work held in Oñati, Spain, between 3 – 4 May 2018. This is an interdisciplinary workshop for about 25 invited participants, including judicial officers, from 11 countries, which Sharyn and Kathy have organised with a colleague from the USA and another from Sweden. Kathy gave presentations to a number of international, national and local judicial audiences. In September, she presented a paper entitled ‘Judicial Work and Domestic Work: Managing the Boundaries’ to the Commonwealth Magistrate and Judge Association Triennial Conference “Becoming Stronger Together” in Brisbane, and in May she presented the paper ‘A Magistrate walked into a bar…Is there a place for Humour and Emotion in Court?’ at the Association of Australian Magistrates Biennial Conference in Perth. Further presentations on aspects of humour, emotion and judging were given to the South Australian Courts judicial development day in Adelaide (November) and to the South Australian Chapter of Council of Australian Tribunals (October).Professor Rosemary Hunter of Queen Mary University London presented a paper co-authored with Sharyn and Kathy to the Conference of the Research Committee of the Sociology of Law in Lisbon, Portugal held on 10-12 September.  The paper entitled ‘Feminist Judging in Australian Magistrates Courts: Empirical Findings’ is the result of an ongoing collaboration project with Kathy and Sharyn investigating feminist judging in the lower courts.


Book on Judges and Humour

Milner Davis, Jessica and Sharyn Roach Anleu, editors, (2018), Judges, Judging and Humour, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

This is a collection of eight chapters, including authors from Australia, Brazil, England, Sweden and the USA.  The foreword is provided by the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG.  The book unites literary and cultural studies approaches with empirical research examining the reality of day-to-day courtroom procedure.  It also contributes a cross-cultural dimension to the emerging literature on legal cases that turn on humour.  Humour is important for healthy and impartial judicial work, and deserves more serious thought than it has received.  Dr Milner Davis is Honorary Associate, Department of English, University of Sydney.

The book can be ordered directly from Palgrave.

Other publications are listed in the Publications & Presentations section of the website.

International collaboration

In December 2018, Professor Sharyn Roach Anleu visited the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to continue the collaboration with Dr Jennifer Elek.  While there, they completed work on an article jointly authored with Professor Kathy Mack (Flinders University) and Dr David Rottman (NCSC) which was accepted for publication in 2019, and a book chapter co-authored with Kathy Mack which has also been accepted for publication in 2019.

Also in December 2018, Professor Sharyn Roach Anleu and Professor Kathy Mack worked with Professor Rosemary Hunter during her visit to Australia, completing a paper applying a conceptual analysis of feminist judging to the work of the lower courts using empirical data drawn from an earlier court observation study conducted by the Judicial Research project.

Dr Jennifer Elek of the National Center for State Courts (Williamsburg, VA, USA) visited Flinders University for two weeks in July/August 2018. Jennifer is a Senior Court Research Associate at the NCSC, where she focusses on judicial performance evaluation, problem-solving courts, offender risk and needs assessment, and gender, racial, and ethnic fairness in the courts.

This was Jennifer’s second visit to Flinders further contributing to work undertaken with Sharyn and Kathy on collaborative research investigating judicial ethics, emotion and judicial discipline. Her visit was supported by an International Collaboration Award, as part of an ARC Discovery Project Grant.


4th Biennial John Western Public Lecture

On Friday 8 December 2017, Sharyn gave the 4th Biennial John Western Public Lecture at the University of Queensland. This prestigious invited lecture series honours the late Emeritus Professor John Western, who became the first professor of sociology at UQ in 1970, retiring in 1996.

Sharyn’s lecture, titled ‘The Human Judge: Between Craft and Profession’ addressed major themes linking the current work of the Judicial Research Project (JRP) with the path-breaking longitudinal research of Professor Western, The Professions in Australia project. These themes include a commitment to empirical research, investigating professional socialisation and related work skills and values, and understanding  the implications for [in]equality as indicated by social characteristics of those in [or not in] a profession.  In the half century since the first survey in Western’s ground-breaking research, much has changed. One is the entry of women into the legal profession, and eventually into the judiciary.  A second major shift is attention to the ordinary, everyday activities of judges and courts. JRP research reveals the craftwork needed to manage practical aspects of judicial work, in particular the importance of emotion and the need for judicial emotion work. While these developments challenge the conventional image of the judge as a detached, dispassionate male figure, JRP research lays the groundwork for new conception of impartial judicial work.

More information about the Lecture can be found at:

International collaboration

Dr. Jennifer Elek of the National Center for State Courts (Williamsburg, VA) recently visited Flinders University, supported by an International Collaboration Award as part of an ARC DP grant. While at Flinders, she worked with Sharyn and Kathy on journal articles relating to judicial ethics and emotion and judicial performance evaluation. This collaborative research is furthering the analytic framework to examine judicial disciplinary proceedings in the US regarding emotion and judicial misconduct. Jennifer is a Senior Court Research Associate at the NCSC, where she focusses on judicial performance evaluation, problem-solving courts, offender risk and needs assessment, and gender, racial, and ethnic fairness in the courts. She joined Sharyn and Kathy on a panel at the Law & Society Association annual meeting in June 2017 in Mexico City, along with other international researchers and Project collaborators Dr. Stina Bergman Blix, Prof. Terry Maroney, Prof. Susan Bandes, Dr. Heather Conway and Prof. Les Moran. This panel is part of a Collaborative Research Network on Law and Emotion. After the Law & Society meeting, Sharyn travelled to the NCSC where she was a visitor for two weeks. Jennifer has taken over from Dr. David Rottman as the lead collaborator on the Judicial Performance and Emotion focus of Project research; Dr. Rottman continues to be involved in the Project.


Photo of Jennifer and Sharyn
Sharyn with Dr. Jennifer Elek during Jennifer’s visit in December 2017

Professor Rosemary Hunter recently visited Flinders as the guest of the Judicial Research Project. Her visit was supported by a former School of Social and Policy Studies Small Grant.  Rosemary is Professor of Law and Socio-Legal Studies at Queen Mary University London, and was previously at the University of Kent, Griffith University and the University of Melbourne.

Her most recent book is Mapping Paths to Family Justice: Resolving Family Disputes in Neoliberal Times co-authored with  Anne Barlow, Janet Smithson and Jan Ewing:

While at Flinders, Rosemary worked on an ongoing collaborative project with Kathy and Sharyn investigating feminist judging in the lower courts. Their previous article conceptualizes feminist judging in the lower courts in general and distinguishes it from both conventional judging and from procedural justice and therapeutic jurisprudence. The current phase of the research applies this analysis to empirical data, including observations and transcripts of magistrates court proceedings, and will result in a further collaborative article. Rosemary also met with staff who have research interests in the areas of domestic violence and family relations.

Sharyn and Professor Rosemary Hunter at the Judicial Research Project offices during Rosemary’s visit in November 2017

2017 Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association Conference

In September, Sharyn presented a paper, co-authored with Kathy, titled ‘Judging and Emotion in Lower Courts’ at the 2017 Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA) Conference, held in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania. Flinders University was a part sponsor of the conference, as noted in the official conference program. In attendance were more than 300 judicial officers from 41 jurisdictions, members of the Commonwealth of Nations.

During the conference, Sharyn presented a copy of Performing Judicial Authority in the Lower Courts to His Honour Dr John Lowndes, President of the CMJA and Chief Judge of the Northern Territory Local Court. Dr. Lowndes has been engaged with the work of the Judicial Research Project and its predecessor the Magistrates Research Project since its inception; his own research into the Australian magistracy has been an important resource for the Project.

Sharyn and His Honour Dr John Lowndes, President of the CMJA and Chief Judge of the Northern Territory Local Court, at the 2017 Commonwealth Judges and Magistrates Conference


In 1995, Sharyn and Kathy published a major socio-legal study into the production of guilty pleas in Australia Pleading Guilty: Issues and practices. A recently published  article investigates the trajectory of that report, describing how the information and ideas generated were communicated to diverse audiences, analysing when, where, how and by whom the Pleading Guilty research findings were used by government, law reform bodies and academic researchers.

Kathy Mack, Sharyn Roach Anleu and Jordan Tutton, ‘Pleading Guilty: Issues and Practices – A Socio-Legal Research Case Study’ (2017) 27 Journal of Judicial Administration 21

An article resulting from a collaboration with Prof Anne Wallace of La Trobe University has been published. It explores the implications of the use of AV technology in courts.

Anne Wallace, Sharyn Roach Anleu and Kathy Mack, ‘Judicial Work and AV Use: Perceptions from Australian Courts’ (2017) 7(4) Oñati Socio-Legal Series 691-716 Available from:

An article that investigates how different research approaches locate the judge as an actor in sentencing, both theoretically and empirically, has been published.

Sharyn Roach Anleu, Russell Brewer and Kathy Mack, ‘Locating the Judge within Sentencing Research’ (2017) 6(2) International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 46-63

Conference presentations

Sharyn and Kathy have both given presentations at a number of important recent international events. All presentations were co-authored by both Sharyn and Kathy.

The paper ‘Communicating Justice: Judicial Officers and Emotion Work’ was presented by Sharyn at the Communicating Justice Symposium held at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, on 10 October 2017.

The paper ‘Judging and Emotion in Lower Courts’ was presented by Sharyn at the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Conference held in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, from 24-28 September 2017.

Award for Best Paper in the Journal of Sociology 2015-16

An article written by Professor Sharyn Roach Anleu (School of Social and Policy Studies) and Emerita Professor Kathy Mack (Law) entitled ‘Performing Authority: Communicating Judicial Decisions in Lower Criminal Courts‘ was chosen as the Best Paper published in the Journal of Sociology for the two year period of 2015-16. The Journal is published by SAGE and is the flagship journal of The Australian Sociological Association (TASA). An official announcement was made at the annual TASA conference dinner on Wednesday 30 November.

Media coverage

On 5 April 2017, an interview with Sharyn and former Judge Ian Gray was broadcast on ABC Radio National’s Drive program regarding the role of emotions in the courtroom. The audio of the interview can be accessed at

On 27 September 2016, an interview with Sharyn was broadcast by the Law Report on ABC Radio National regarding the Project’s recent findings about judicial performance, emotion and impartiality. The transcript and audio of the Law Report interview can be accessed at

Also on 27 September, ABCNews24 television aired a live interview with Kathy about this research.

Sharyn gave another interview with ABCNSW, which was broadcast on Thursday 29 September during their drive time program.

A follow-up article entitled ‘Judges admit to emotion in court but say they avoid bias in judgments’ was published online by ABC News on 29 September 2016. This can be accessed at