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Abstract from

Neighbours and Stalking Intervention Orders: Old Conflicts and New Remedies

Marilyn McMahon is Senior Lecturer, School of Law and Legal Studies, La Trobe University.
John Willis is Associate Professor, School of Law and Legal Studies, La Trobe University.

Therapeutic jurisprudence is a comparatively recent development that offers its own distinctive way of analysing and assessing various legal issues. The past decade or so has seen the enactment of anti-stalking legislation across much of the western world and in all Australian jurisdictions. This legislation has involved the creation of specific criminal offences of stalking and also the provision of civil remedies, akin to injunctions, which prohibit persons from engaging in specified stalking behaviour. These civil remedies (sometimes called intervention orders) have been used far more often than the criminal sanctions. Indeed, the very popularity of these orders has ensured that con­siderable court resources must be devoted to them and magistrates have developed ad hoc strategies to facilitate their expeditious proces­sing. This article will seek to analyse, through the ‘lens’ of therapeutic jurisprudence, the use of this civil remedy to regulate stalking. The focus will be on stalking intervention orders in Victoria with a special analysis of a subset of those intervention orders, namely those dealing with neighbourhood disputes. The popularity of these intervention orders points to significant social issues in the community. It is, however, very doubtful that the present method of dealing with these problems is the most efficient or most efficacious way of doing so.

(2002) 20 No 2 Law in Context 95

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