Retrospective on Ridgeway: Governing Principles of Controlled Operations Law

Brendon MURPHY

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Australian law there are few law enforcement powers as controversial as the controlled operation. Controlled operations involve authorised unlawful conduct by police or informers in the course of an investigation. Introduced as an apparent reaction to the High Court’s decision in Ridgeway in 1995, controlled operations law has evolved into a national framework that aims to authorise and regulate undercover investigation at the local, national and transnational level. This article examines the scope of controlled operations in Australia, and their governing doctrinal and normative principles. The article concludes with a consideration of the role that controlled operations law plays in shaping new forms of sovereignty and the entrenchment of Richard Ericson’s counterlaw thesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-58
Number of pages20
JournalCriminal Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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