Queensland Law Society

Equal treatment before the law

Queensland Law Society has called for a commitment to:

  • Investigate methods of ensuring 17 year olds accused of Federal offences in Queensland receive equal treatment as children with interstate accused.

Queensland is presently alone in Australia in treating 17 year olds as adults in the criminal justice system.

A key principle of the rule of law is that the law should be applied to all people equally. However this divergent treatment of 17 year olds in Queensland can lead to inconsistent treatment of those charged with Federal offences in Queensland.

For example a seventeen year old charged in New South Wales may expect to be dealt with under the juvenile justice regime and its corresponding correctional facilities. Being charged with exactly the same offences in Queensland an equivalent accused will face the adult justice system and adult correctional facilities.