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Guide to Restitution: Guide to Compensation and Forfeiture Orders

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This article Guide to Restitution:  Compensation and Forfeiture Orders is written by James Gilfillan, Defence Lawyer, Emma Turnbull Lawyers, Specialist Criminal Lawyers.
James has a strong commitment to human rights and robust advocacy. He demonstrates this commitment by his history of voluntary work in refugee law at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. James is experienced in working with a diverse client base and understands what is required to effectively communicate with clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Introduction:  Restitution, compensation, and forfeiture orders are legal mechanisms employed to address financial aspects of criminal offenses. This guide aims to provide an overview of these orders, including automatic forfeiture, under the Drugs Act and Sentencing Act, the laws that govern them, and the consequences of non-compliance. The information contained is deliberately general in nature, for advice on your specific situation please contact our office.

Restitution Orders:

  1. Definition: Restitution orders require offenders to reimburse victims for financial and other losses incurred as a result of the offense committed.
  2. Application: Restitution orders are generally made by the Court during the sentencing process, taking into account the victim’s losses and the offender’s ability to pay.
  3. Law: Restitution orders in Victoria are governed by the Sentencing Act 1991 and the Crimes (Restitution) Act 1980.

Compensation Orders:

  1. Definition: Compensation orders require offenders to compensate victims for physical or psychological harm suffered as a result of the offense.
  2. Application: Compensation orders are typically made in cases involving personal injury, property damage, or emotional distress caused by the offense.
  3. Law: Compensation orders in Victoria are governed by the Sentencing Act 1991 and the Victims of Crime Assistance Act 1996. An order made under the Victims of Crime Assistance Act does not require the offender to personally compensate the victim, however a Sentencing Act order requires personal payment from the offender.

Forfeiture Orders:

  1. Definition: Forfeiture orders involve the confiscation of assets or property connected to criminal activity, typically related to proceeds of crime or assets used in the commission of offenses.
  2. Automatic Forfeiture: Under the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act and Sentencing Act 1981, certain offenses, particularly drug trafficking-related offenses, may trigger automatic forfeiture of assets, such as cash, vehicles, or property, without the need for a separate forfeiture order.
  3. Law: Automatic forfeiture provisions can be found in the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 and the Sentencing Act 1991.

Consequences of Non-Compliance:

  1. Legal Consequences: Failure to comply with a restitution, compensation, or forfeiture order may result in further legal action and penalties, including fines, imprisonment, or additional sanctions.
  2. Enforcement Measures: Authorities may employ various measures to enforce compliance, such as garnishing wages, seizing assets, or initiating civil proceedings.
  3. Impact on Sentencing: Non-compliance with restitution or compensation orders can affect your future sentencing outcomes and may result in more severe penalties for subsequent offenses.

Seeking Legal Advice:

If you are subject to a restitution, compensation, or forfeiture order application, including automatic forfeiture under the Drugs Act and Sentencing Act, it is essential to seek legal advice promptly. Emma Turnbull Lawyers can provide expert guidance and representation to help you understand your obligations, explore options for compliance, and navigate the legal process effectively.


Restitution, compensation, and forfeiture orders, including automatic forfeiture under the Drugs Act and Sentencing Act, play a vital role in addressing financial aspects of criminal offenses and combatting the proceeds of crime.

Understanding the laws that govern these orders and complying with them is crucial to avoid legal consequences. Contact our experienced team for personalized assistance and advice regarding your legal rights and obligations.

About the Directors:

Emma Turnbull is a passionate advocate for justice, equality, and empowerment. With her deep commitment to making a positive impact, she has dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of individuals facing prosecution by the State and promoting social change.

“I firmly believe that each and every one of us has the power to create meaningful change. It starts by finding our voices, standing up for what is right, and ensuring that everyone, whether they have a five day or three month jury trial, receives a fair hearing. My goal is that win or lose, every client feels they have received a fair trial, with their voice heard and their best defence put forward.”

Adrian Lewin is a seasoned criminal lawyer renowned for his unwavering dedication to defending the rights of individuals facing legal challenges. With his extensive experience and expertise in criminal law, Adrian has successfully represented clients in a wide range of complex cases. Known for his strategic thinking and meticulous preparation, he tirelessly fights for justice, ensuring that every client receives the strongest possible defence