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Making a Justice Human Research Ethics Committee application

An application for ethics approval must be made to the Justice Human Research Ethics Committee (JHREC) for all research and evaluation conducted by or for the department (including agencies and auspices) when it involves more than a low level risk for: 

  • people that the department is responsible for
  • people associated with or affected by the activities of the department.

This also includes the use of or access to information relating to any of the above groups.

Low risk is as defined by the national statement as "where the only foreseeable risk is one of discomfort. Where the risk, even if unlikely, is more serious than discomfort, the research is not low risk".

In addition, research involving the following groups will always require ethics consideration, irrespective of the level of risk, because of concerns regarding its sensitivity or vulnerability:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • people who may be involved in illegal activities
  • people with a cognitive impairment, an intellectual disability, or a mental illness.

How to apply

Applicants must first register their intention to submit an application at least three months before the meeting date.

To register your intention to apply, email

Once you have registered with the JHREC committee, you will be sent the relevant application form. For more information refer to the Justice Human Research Ethics Committee application guidelines.

For any questions regarding an application, please contact the JHREC secretariat on phone 03 8684 1514 or email      

Current members

Members are appointed for three years and are eligible for re-appointment for a maximum term of nine years. 

  • Mr Jonathan Kaplan - Chair
  • Mr Andrew Boatman - Lay member
  • Ms Melanie Casley - Department representative
  • Ms Jennifer Donovan - Lay member
  • Ms Julieanne James - Koori representative member
  • Dr Philomena Horsley - Researcher member
  • Mr Carl Wood - Lay member
  • Ms Penelope Ralston - Lawyer member
  • Prof Frances Quirk - Research Member
  • Rev Robert Ferguson - Pastoral Care Member
  • Mr Abdullah Nu’Man - Pastoral Care Member
  • Dr Ines Rio - Professional Care member
  • Dr Alexandra West - Professional Care member

Reporting to JHREC (for approved projects)

An Amendment Request Form needs to be completed when any alterations are made to the project such as staff changes and changes to the methodology or research instruments. If a department letter of support was attached to your application, the business areas concerned need to be informed of the amendment prior to submission to JHREC.

Annual Report Forms are to be submitted every 12 months for projects which extend beyond 12 months in duration.

Completion Forms must be submitted on the conclusion of the research phase. A copy of the research findings are also required on finalisation of the project. 

Note: long term or ongoing projects are required to submit a completion form at the end of each three-year period and renewed by submitting a new application.

Privacy legislation 

Researchers must ensure their proposal conforms to all relevant privacy legislation, including the Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth), the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic). Researchers are responsible for providing sufficient information in their application to enable JHREC to determine whether the research represents any breach of the various privacy principles and, if so, whether the public interest in the research substantially outweighs the public interest in respecting privacy. For more information refer to Information privacy policy.

National Health and Medical Research Council 

The National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 requires that all research "involving or impacting on humans" conforms to the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (External link)

Research must also comply with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research (External link),which replaced the joint Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Australian Vice Chancellors' Committee (AVCC) Statement and Guidelines on Research Practice (1997).

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander flags

The department acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and acknowledges and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.