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Personal details

Dr Lisa Durnian
Discipline *
Criminology, Historical Studies, Law
+61 7 3138 7121
+61 7 3138 7123
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Doctor of Philosophy (Griffith University), Grad.Dip.Ed (Secondary) (University of Queensland), BA (Hons Class I) (University of Queensland)

Professional memberships
and associations
  • Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology
  • Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society (Member)

historical criminology, digital histories, guilty plea, criminal prosecution, policing, sentencing, patricide, QUT Centre for Justice

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Dr Lisa Durnian is a lecturer in the School of Justice at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). Lisa is currently teaching The History of Criminal Prosecution and Punishment and Penal Policy for undergraduate students.

She is a member of QUT’s Centre for Justice (C4J); the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (ANZSOC); and the Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society (ANZLHS).

Lisa’s research provides the first historical examination of the contemporary guilty plea system in criminal prosecution. Her thesis ‘The rise of the guilty plea in Australian Supreme Courts: A history‘ was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for Excellence in the PhD Thesis for 2018 (Griffith University).

Lisa’s research interests include:

  • the guilty plea
  • criminal prosecution
  • historical criminology
  • digital histories

Prior to joining QUT, Lisa was a sessional lecturer at Griffith University and taught into policing, courts and the criminal law; prisoner rehabilitation; and research methodologies.

This information has been contributed by Dr Lisa Durnian.


Semester 1, 2020: JSB227 The History of Criminal Prosecution.

Lisa designed and created this unit based on her doctoral research on the history of criminal prosecution and the origins of the contemporary guilty plea system. This unit provides students with an original cumulative assessment structure focused on one of two topics: the historical experiences of child victims or Indigenous defendants during the criminal prosecution process.

The assignments in this unit inform each other, and both are combined within the  final assessment piece where students create a submission to a mock Royal Commission of Inquiry on their selected topic. This unit engages students in using both qualitative and quantitative data. Students are instructed how to employ digital research tools for historical research and are provided with workshops using Excel to analyse historical prosecution datasets collected from the Prosecution Project database of Australian criminal prosecutions.

Semester 2, 2019; Semester 2, 2020: JSB207 Punishment and Penal Policy.



This information has been contributed by Dr Lisa Durnian.



Awards and recognition

Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
Awarded the Chancellor's Medals for Excellence in the PhD Thesis, 2018
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
Awarded the Allen Austin Bartholomew Award with co-author Alana Piper (UTS) for best article published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology. 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.