Professor David Tait


PhD in Social Administration, London School of Economics, University of London
MA (Hons) in Political Science, University of Canterbury
BA in History and Political Science, University of Canterbury


David Tait is the Leader of the Justice Research Group. He is a scholar in criminology and sociology with a background in social statistics, guardianship and mental health, sentencing, jury research and urban sociology. Prior to taking up the position at Western Sydney University, David was Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer at the Law School of the University of Canberra from January 2005 until May 2009.

Professor Tait is currently the Co-ordinator of the Court of the Future Network. He has a special interest in justice processes, particularly how justice is performed and experienced in different cultural and national settings. This has led to research on juries, mental health and guardianship tribunals, restorative justice conferences, court safety and remote witness communications. In this he collaborates with a range of academic fields including law, psychology, forensic science, architecture, media studies and management. He is currently leading large cross-disciplinary teams in three ARC Linkage grants and one ARC Discovery grant.

Current ARC-funded research programs include:

  • Juries & Interactive Visual Evidence (JIVE)
  • Gateways to Justice: Improving video-mediated communications for justice participants
  • Fortress or Sanctuary? Enhancing court safety by managing people, places and processes
  • Juror Confidence
  • Justice spaces: security without prejudice in the wireless courtroom
  • Interpreters in court: witness credibility with interpreted testimony

Current research interests

Justice Environments

Court architecture and court planning, remote justice facilities, the use of technology in courts; investigation of questions such as: how do court users experience the spaces and process of the justice system, how do court executives manage their buildings and staff (safety and security), and how do participants in the justice process use new technologies?

Justice rituals and representations

Spatial, symbolic and emotional settings of court and tribunal buildings and the justice rituals that take place in them; cultural differences between civil and command law systems, and between variants of the common law system in different countries and cultural contexts; jury trials and juvenile court processes.


Modelling reoffending rates, and measuring the impace of different sentences, including fines, prison and suspended sentences.

The jury process

Jury research and practice; juries and interactive evidence; responses to democracy or authority; jury satisfaction.

Protecting people who are vulnerable

How the law balances the rights of vulnerable people to autonomy with their entitlements to necessary treatment and service (including in relation to guardianship, medical consent issues, treatment for anorexia and mental illness).

Selected publications


Carney, T., Tait, D. Vernon, A., Perry, J., & Beaupert, F., 2011. Australian Mental Health Tribunals: Space for Fairness, Freedom, Protection & Treatment? Sydney: The Federation Press.

Carney, T., Tait, D., Touyz, S., Ingvarson, M., Saunders, D. & Wakefield, A. 2006, Managing Anorexia Nervosa: Clinical, Legal and Social Perspectives on Involuntary Treatment, New York: Nova Science. 

Carney, T. & Tait, D. 1997, The Adult Guardianship Experiment: Tribunals and Popular Justice, Sydney: Federation Press.

Collins, J., Gibson K., Alcorso, C., Castles S., & Tait, D. 1995, A Shopful of Dreams: Ethnic Small Business and Restructuring in Australia, Sydney: Pluto Press.

Tait, D. (ed.) 1988, Family Wellbeing: Proceedings of a Workshop, 3 June 1987, Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Horvath, R. & Tait, D. 1985, Sydney: a social atlas, Canberra: Division of National Mapping, Institute of Australian Geographers and Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Book Chapters

Tait, D., 2013, 'Court environments as legal forums, workplaces and symbols of justice', in Fleming, D. (ed.), Australian Courts: Serving Democracy and its Publics, Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration, pp 17-38.

Goodman-Delahunty, J., Brewer, N., Clough, J., Horan, J., Ogloff, J., Tait, D. & Pratley J. 2008, 'Practices, Policies and Procedures that Influence Juror Satisfaction in Australia: Report to the Criminology Research Council, July 2007', Research and Public Policy Series No. 87, Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.

Carney, T., Ingvarson, M. & Tait, D. 2008, 'Constructing Control Over Anorexia Nervosa', in Bennett, B., Carney, T. & Karpin, I. (eds), Brave New World of Health, Sydney: Federation Press, pp.182-94.

Carney, T., Ingvarson, M. & Tait, D. 2006, 'Experiences of "Control" in Anorexia Nervosa Treatment: Delayed Coercion, Shadow of Law, or Disseminated Power and Control?', in Swain, P. (ed.), Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa: New Research, New York: Nova Science, pp. 41-61.

Chapman, B., Freiberg, A., Quiggin, J. & Tait, D 2006, 'Criminal Reparations: Using the Tax System to Collect Fines', in Chapman, B. (ed.), Government Managing Risk: Income Contingent Loans for Social and Economic Progress, New York: Routledge, pp. 221-47.

Tait, D. 2002, 'Sentencing as Performance: Restoring Drama to the Courtroom' in Tata, C. & Hutton, N. (eds), Sentencing and Society: International Perspectives, Burlington, VT: Ashgate, pp. 469-82.

Refereed journal articles

Tait, D. & Carney, T. 2013, 'Transforming governance and technology in civil and administrative justice', Journal of Judicial Administration, 22:3, 117-129.

Tait, D. 2011, 'Deliberating about terrorism: Prejudice and jury verdicts in a mock terrorism trial', Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 44(3): 387-403.

Tait, D. 2011, 'Glass Cages in the Dock?: Presenting the Defendant to the Jury', Chicago-Kent Law Review, 86(2): 467-495.

Carney, T. & Tait, D. 2011, Mental Health Tribunals - Rights, Protection, or Treatment? Lessons from the ARC Linkage Grant Study, Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 18(1): 137-159.

Tait, D. 2009, 'Democratic Spaces in a Citadel of Authority, Architecture Australia, 98(5): 45-6.

Mow, K.E. & Tait, D. 2008, 'Research Capacity Building: Does History Really Matter?', International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 2(5): 215-22.

Carney, T, Beaupert, F, Perry, J & Tait, D. 2008, 'Advocacy and Participation in Mental Health Cases: Realisable Rights or Pipe Dream?', Law in Context, 26(2): 125-47.

Carney, T., Tait, D. & Beaupert, F. 2008, 'Pushing the Boundaries: Realising Rights through Mental Health Tribunal Processes?', Sydney Law Review, 30(2): 329-56.

Carney, T., Tait, D., Richardson, A. & Touyz, S. 2008, 'Why (and When) Clinicians Compel Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa Patients', European Eating Disorders Review, 16(3): 199-206.

Carney, T., Tait, D., Chappell, D. & Beaupert, F. 2007, 'Mental Health Tribunals: "TJ" Implications of Weighing Fairness, Freedom, Protection and Treatment', Journal of Judicial Administration, 17:(1), 46-59.

Tait, D. 2007, 'Rethinking the Role of the Image in Justice: Visual Evidence and Science in the Trial Process', Law, Probability and Risk, 6(1-4): 311-18.

Carney, T., Tait, D., & Touyz, S. 2007, 'Coercion is Coercion?: Reflections on Clinical Trends in Use of Compulsion in Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa Patients', Australasian Psychiatry, 15(5): 390-5.

Carney, T., Wakefield, A., Tait, D. & Touyz, S. 2006, 'Reflections on Coercion in the Treatment of Severe Anorexia Nervosa', Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, 43(3): 159-65.

Goodman-Delahunty, J & Tait, D. 2006, 'DNA and the Changing Face of Justice', Australian Journal of Forensic Science, 38(2): 97-106.

Carney, T., Tait, D., Wakefield, A., Ingvarson, M. & Touyz, S. 2005, 'Coercion in the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa: Clinical, Demographic and Legal Implications', Medicine and Law, 24(i): 21-40.

Carney, T., Saunders, D., Tait, D., Touyz, S. & Ingvarson, M. 2004, 'Therapeutic Pathways in Treatment of Severe Anorexia Nervosa?', Contemporary Issues in Law – Special Issue: Therapeutic Jurisprudence, 7(1): 100-18.

Chapman, B., Freiberg, A., Quiggan J. & Tait, D. 2004, 'Using the Tax System to Collect Fines', Australian Journal of Public Administration, 63(3): 20-32.

Carney, T., Tait, D., Saunders, D., Touyz, S. & Beumont, P. 2003, 'Institutional Options in Management of Coercion in Anorexia Treatment: The Antipodean Experiment', International Journal Law and Psychiatry, 26(vi): 647-75.

Carney, T., Saunders, D., Tait, D., Touyz, S., Wakefield, A. & Beumont, P. 2003, 'Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Anorexia: A Synergy?' Law in Context – Special Issue: Therapeutic Jurisprudence, 20(2): 54-73.

Carney, T., Saunders, D., Tait, D., Touyz, S., Ingvarson, M. 2004, 'Therapeutic Pathways in Treatment of Severe Anorexia Nervosa', Contemporary Issues in Law, 7(1): 100-118.

Tait, D. 2003, 'The Ritual Environment of the Mental Health Tribunal Hearing: Inquiries and Reflections', Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 10(1): 91-6.

Tait, D. 2001, ' Pardons in Perspective: the Role of Forgiveness in Criminal Justice', Federal Sentencing Reporter, 13(3-4): 134-8.

Schwartz, M., DeKeseredy, W., Tait, D. & Alvi, S. 2001, 'Male Peer Support and a Feminist Routine Activities Theory: Understanding Sexual Assault on the College Campus', Justice Quarterly 18(3): 623-49.

Tait, D. & De Young, R. 2000, 'Displaying the Law: a Cross-disciplinary Learning Experiment Using the Internet and Multimedia Technology', International Review of Law, Computers & Technology, 14(2): 191-204.

Tait, D. 1999, 'Boundaries and Barriers: The Social Production of Space in Magistrates'
Courts and Guardianship Tribunals', Journal of Social Change and Critical Inquiry, 1.

Carney, T. & Tait, D.1999, 'Sterilisation: Tribunal Experiments in Popular Justice?', International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 22: 177-97.

Tait, D. 1998, 'Judges and Jukeboxes: A Critique of Sentencing Information Systems', International Journal of Law and Information Technology, 6(2): 67-189.

Audiovisual recordings

Jones, D. & Tait, D.(eds) 2011, European and International Courts: Executive Research Tour Reflections, March - April 2008, DVD

Jones, D. & Tait, D. 2006, Court Architecture and Judicial Rituals: Reflections on Executive Seminar in Paris, DVD.


Tait, D., Curator, Trois Visages de la Justice, Exhibition of watercolours by Noelle Herrenschmidt of court environments in Melbourne, Paris and Chicago, Australian Embassy, Paris, September - December 2005.