Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
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Queensland Sentencing Information Service Print E-mail

QSIS_intro.jpgIf you practice in criminal law and aren't already subscribed to Queensland's foremost online sentencing database, I encourage you to apply for access today. 

The Queensland Sentencing Information Service (QSIS) is a free online database published by the Supreme Court Library Queensland. The database collates sentencing information from all criminal jurisdictions in Queensland and makes it available to practitioners to help them help the courts achieve consistency in sentencing. Key features of QSIS include:

  • statistical data from criminal proceedings in the Magistrates, District, Children's and Supreme Courts
  • sentencing remarks from the District, Children's and Supreme Courts
  • Queensland Court of Appeal judgments for criminal matters
  • case summaries of Court of Appeals judgments for appeals against sentence
  • all Queensland and Commonwealth legislation
  • practice directions
  • …and much more

QSIS provides practitioners with advanced searching capabilities that allow you to refine and filter your searches. All components of QSIS are linked together using unique file numbers issued by the Queensland Courts. This enables QSIS to link together an offender’s sentencing remarks, Court of Appeal judgment and co-offender results, allowing practitioners to navigate quickly and easily across multiple sources of information.  

The statistical component of QSIS is a unique resource not available elsewhere. It allows practitioners to examine sentencing options using offence related data gathered over a period of seven years in the Supreme and District Courts and four years in the Magistrates Court. Statistics are presented as bar graphs, showing the range of sentencing outcomes for a particular offence: the X axis shows the total number of offenders for that specific penalty type, and the Y axis shows the percentage of offenders who have received a specific penalty. Searches are able to be filtered according to offender attributes and penalties.


QSIS also provides access to case summaries of Queensland sentence appeals. The case summaries are abstracts of the full judgments, also available via the QSIS database, and are written from a sentencing perspective. The case summaries search function is the most comprehensive search function on QSIS and provides greater options for filtering searches. For example, using the advanced search function in the case summaries component of QSIS allows researchers to filter search results by original sentence location, offender age at time of offence and sentence, victim age, drug amount, plea, penalty type and date.

Any practitioner may access QSIS via the public PCs in the Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton Supreme Court libraries. Eligible practitioners may also apply for remote access to QSIS by downloading an application form from www.sentencing.sclqld.org.au.

The Brisbane library regularly hosts free QSIS training sessions for BAQ members. Members are encouraged to check the Library’s online events calendar (http://www.sclqld.org.au/news-and-events/forthcoming-events/) for information about upcoming training sessions, or to email qsis@sclqld.org.au to register your interest. Alternatively, private QSIS training sessions may be arranged for eligible chambers. Practitioners can also request assistance with using QSIS anytime by contacting the Library.

Want to find out more about how QSIS can help you in practice?
Contact James Grehan, QSIS Legal Officer, on (07) 3008 8711 or at qsis@sclqld.org.au.

David Bratchford
Supreme Court Librarian


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