Adjourned Undertaking (Good Behaviour Bond)

Sections 72 and 75 of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) deal with Court ordered Undertakings.

An adjourned undertaking is a sentencing option that typically requires the defendant to comply with certain conditions. Failure to comply with the conditions will render the offender in breach of the Order.

A sentence (Magistrate or Judge) imposes an undertaking in order to achieve a number of sentencing purposes which are set out under Section 70 of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic). Namely:

  • to provide for the rehabilitation of an offender by allowing the sentence to be served in the community unsupervised;
  • to take account of the trivial, technical or minor nature of the offence committed;
  • to allow for circumstances in which it is inappropriate to record a conviction;
  • to allow for circumstances in which it is inappropriate to inflict any punishment other than a nominal punishment;
  • to allow for the existence of other extenuating or exceptional circumstances that justify the court showing mercy to an offender.

The usual conditions are that the offender be of good behaviour for a nominated period; and or that the offender pay a sum of money into the Court Fund. The Court is also free to impose further conditions such as a condition for an offender to continue a particular treatment regime (for example psychological counselling) for the duration of the undertaking.

An adjourned undertaking can be made with conviction (under s. 72 of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) or without conviction (s. 75 of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic). The maximum duration for both types of undertaking is 5 years.

Click below for the forms currently used in Victoria (as of August 2023) when making an application for undertakings:

As with any discretionary decision, your defence lawyer needs to persuade the Magistrate or Judge that an adjourned undertaking is the appropriate order in all the circumstances of the case, as it balances the gravity of the offending, against your personal circumstances.

For a practical illustration of these principles, please refer to our case studies. Each case study describes the particular court hearing (plea of guilty, contested hearing, trial), the particular criminal offences that were the subject of the hearing, and the court outcome.

Here are some of our case studies wherein our client (the defendant) was sentenced to an adjourned undertaking (good behaviour bond):