Prof Marilyn McMahon



Deputy Dean, Deakin Law School


Faculty of Business and Law


BL Law


Melbourne Burwood Campus



Dr Marilyn McMahon is a Professor in Deakin Law School. Her research interests are in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, criminal responsibility and evidence. She is currently involved in three major research projects. The first project explores how victims and harms are constructed, both historically and in contemporary times, in the law relating to family violence. The second is an investigation of the rule against double jeopardy and its contemporary reform in Australia. The final project explores bail reform.

Marilyn previously worked at La Trobe University. She has published widely in the areas of criminal defences (self-defence and mental state defences) and criminal procedure. She currently is supervising graduate students who are exploring the criminalisation of the infliction of mental harm, domestic violence within the framework of human rights and the sentencing of women who have been victims of family violence. She is happy to supervise research students in any aspect of criminal law, criminal procedure and criminal justice.

In 2017, Marilyn was awarded a Victorian Parliamentary Library Fellowship for the project: Bail Reform and Risk Assessment. Also in the same year in November, she organised a Roundtable that brought together leading national and international scholars on domestic violence to consider whether a special, specific offence was required in order to effectively protect victims. The proceedings will be published in a book she edited along with Paul McGorrery, due to be released in 2019.

She has been appointed to three independent statutory bodies: the Mental Health Tribunal (appointed by the Minister for Health since 1995); the Forensic Leave Panel (appointed by the Minister of Justice and Regulation since 2017) and the Disciplinary Appeals Board (appointed by the Minister for Education since 2017). 

Marilyn was previously a member of the Intellectual Disability Review Panel (appointed by the Minister for Health from 1988 to 2004) and was the designated Specialist Forensic Psychologist Member of the Panel from 2002 to 2004.


Read more on Marilyn's profile

Career highlights

  • Victorian Parliamentary Research Fellowship, 2017-2018.

Research interests

  • Contemporary issues concerning the construction of victims and harms in relation to family violence and the criminal law.
  • Bail reform
  • The rule against double jeopardy and its contemporary reform in Australia  (including prosecution appeals against acquittal).
  • The law of self-defence, including comparing developments in Australia with those in the United Kingdome and the United States.


  • Registered Psychologist, Psychologists Registration Board, Australia.

Teaching interests

  • Criminal law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence

Units taught

  • MLL218 - Criminal Procedure
  • MLL214 - Criminal Law
  • MLJ703 - Criminal Procedure and Policy


McMahon, M., ‘Ordinary Domestic Murder? Sentencing Men Who Murder their Intimate Partners', Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology, Australia, 6 December 2017.

McMahon, M., McGorrery, P. and Burton, K., 'Can/Should Family Violence be Prosecuted as Stalking?', Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology, Australia, 6 December 2017.

Wishart, D., Wardrop, A. and McMahon, M., ‘The Internal Autonomy of the Firm’, Australian Corporate Law Teachers Annual Conference, Australia, 5 February 2017.

McMahon, M., ‘Are Juries Biased Against Complainants in the Trials of Sexual Offences?', 31st Annual Conference of the International Congress of Applied Psychology, Japan, August 2016.

Wardop, A., Wishart, D. and McMahon, M., ‘Creating the Virtuous Financial Institution: Looking Beyond Conventional Regulatory Methods’, Australian National Law Reform Conference, Australia, 14-15 April 2016.

Wishart, D., Wardrop, A. and McMahon, M., ‘Regulating Corporate Culture: An Extraordinary Development’, Corporate Law Teachers Association Conference, Australia, 31 January- 2 February 2016.

McMahon, M., 'Are Low Conviction Rates in the Trials of Sex Offences Due to Juries Endorsement of Rape Myths?', European Association for Psychology and Law, Germany, 3-7 August 2015.

McMahon, M., 'Murder and Madness: Intimate partner homicide and disordered mental states', Annual Congress of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, Australia, 13 November 2013.
McMahon, M., 'Intimate partner homicide and the defence of insanity', Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology, Australia, 1 October (2013.

McMahon, M., 'From Anthropometry to Risk Assessment: Measuring Recidivism', Annual Conference of the European Association of Psychology and Law, Cyprus, 11 April 2012.


Media appearances

  • Dr McMahon regularly writes articles on topical issues in criminal law and procedure for The Conversation and has participated in numerous interviews with local media (with much recent interest focused on an article to be published in August 2018 on emoji and the law).


  • Victorian Parliamentary Research Fellowship, 2017-2018.


Filter by


Causing someone else to commit suicide: incitement or manslaughter?

Paul McGorrery, M McMahon

(2019), Vol. 44, pp. 23-28, Alternative law journal, London, Eng., C1


Prosecuting non-physical abuse between current intimate partners: are stalking laws an under-utilised resource?

M McMahon, Paul McGorrery, Kelley Burton

(2019), Vol. 42, pp. 551-592, Melbourne university law review, Melbourne, Vic., C1


Criminalising 'the worst' part: operationalising the offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in England and Wales

Paul McGorrery, Marilyn McMahon

(2019), pp. 957-965, Criminal law review, Andover, Eng., C1


Prosecuting controlling or coercive behaviour in England and Wales: Media reports of a novel offence

Paul McGorrery, Marilyn McMahon

(2019), pp. 1-19, Criminology and Criminal Justice, London, Eng., C1


When cute becomes criminal: emoji, threats and online grooming

Marilyn McMahon, Elizabeth Kirley

(2019), Vol. 20, pp. 37-92, Minnesota journal of law, science and technology, Minneapolis, Minn., C1


A human rights-based approach to compulsory treatment of young people experiencing mental disorder

J Kotzmann, N Bhatia, M McMahon

(2018), Vol. 24, pp. 20-43, Australian journal of human rights, Abingdon, Eng., C1


The emoji factor: humanizing the emerging law of digital speech

M McMahon, Elizabeth Kirley

(2018), Vol. 85, pp. 517-570, Tennessee law review, Knoxville, Tenn., C1


The internal autonomy of the firm

David Wishart, Ann Wardrop, M McMahon

(2018), Vol. 27, pp. 131-156, Griffith law review, London, Eng., C1


Educating juries or telling them what to think? Credibility, delay in complaint, judicial directions and the role of juries

M McMahon, J Willis

(2017), Vol. 41, pp. 27-49, Criminal law journal, Rozelle, N.S.W., C1


A fair 'hearing'

Paul McGorrery, Marilyn McMahon

(2017), Vol. 21, pp. 262-286, The International Journal of Evidence & Proof, C1


Research fraud by health practitioners and the criminal law

I Freckelton, M McMahon

(2017), pp. 433-451, Tensions and Traumas in Health Law, Annandale, NSW, B1


Regulating financial institutional culture: reforming the regulatory toolkit

M McMahon, A Wardrop, D Wishart

(2016), Vol. 27, pp. 171-183, Journal of banking and finance: law and practice, Rozelle, N.S.W., C1


Criminalising emotional abuse, intimidation and economic abuse in the context of family violence : the Tasmanian experience

M McMahon, P McGorrery

(2016), Vol. 35, pp. 1-22, University of Tasmania law review, Hobart, Tas., C1


Zolpidem, complex sleep-related behaviour volition

M McMahon

(2016), Vol. 24, pp. 455-477, Journal of Law and Medicine, C1


Police Misconduct as a Breach of Public trust: the Offence of Misconduct in Public Office

Davids, CM, M McMahon

(2014), Vol. 19, pp. 89-121, Deakin Law Review, Melbourne, Vic., C1


Mandatory jury directions in sexual assault trials in Victoria: less a model than a cautionary tale?

M McMahon, J Willis

(2014), Vol. 38, pp. 287-306, Criminal law journal, Rozelle, NSW, C1


Retrials of persons acquitted of indictable offences in England and Australia: exceptions to the rule against double jeopardy

M McMahon

(2014), Vol. 38, pp. 159-184, Criminal law journal, Rozelle, NSW, C1


Homicide, self-defence and the (inchoate) criminology of battered women

M McMahon

(2013), Vol. 37, pp. 79-98, Criminal law journal, Rozelle, NSW, C1


Funded Projects at Deakin

No Funded Projects at Deakin found


No completed student supervisions to report