John Anderson

Brief Profile

John Anderson PhD is a Professor at the Newcastle Law School, University of Newcastle, Australia. He has extensive practical and academic experience in criminal law and evidence.

He has published widely on criminal law and justice issues, including sentencing and procedure. His research focuses on matters relating to equity and fairness in sentencing, which extends to sentencing options, restorative practices, life imprisonment, parole and recidivism.

He is also involved in multi-disciplinary research on elder abuse and advance personal planning. He currently teaches in various courses, including Criminal Law and Procedure, Advanced Criminal Law, Evidence and Sports Law.

Research interests 

  • Criminal Law
  • Evidence and criminal litigation
  • Sentencing
  • Restorative Justice and restorative practice
  • Elder Law / Elder Abuse
  • Advanced Personal Planning and legal practice
  • Sports Law


Why did you get into research?

After practising in criminal law, I became interested in equity and fairness issues in the criminal justice system.

This initially led to my PhD research focussed on sentencing and the distribution of ultimate sentences. Over time, this has extended to various aspects of law and particularly the treatment of, and protections for older people.


What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

I would love my sentencing research to influence governments and policy makers both nationally and internationally to change the availability of, and practice relating to ultimate sentences, notably life imprisonment.

I want my elder law research to ensure a greater take-up of all advance personal planning in relation to both legal and health decision-making. Ultimately a vision for older people is that will be an end to elder abuse through better education, regulation or individual decision-making.


Future Focus

Continuing work with Penal Reform International and the Global Coalition on Life Imprisonment to effect meaningful change in the availability of, and practice relating to life imprisonment.

To continue my multi-disciplinary work relating to older people, their advance personal planning and protection from elder abuse. To generate more research and project work in ensuring a fair and equitable approach to sentencing in the criminal justice system, including championing the more extensive and meaningful use of restorative practice.


Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Legal research skills in criminal law, evidence and elder law
  • Legal practice connections
  • Litigation and the courts
  • Legal issues in sport



  • Australian and New Zealand Association of Pyschiatry, Psychology and Law (ANZAPPL)
  • Australian College of Educators (ACE)
  • Australian and New Zealand Sports Law Association (ANZSLA)
  • Australasian Law Academic Association (ALAA)
  • NSW Sentencing Council – Academic member with research expertise in sentencing
  • Newcastle Law Society
  • Hunter Restorative Community
  • Editorial Board of The Newcastle Law Review
  • Newcastle Law School Advisory Board
  • Penal Reform International
  • Global Coalition on Life Imprisonment