Reforming court procedures
The South Australian Government is delivering a number of measures to reform court procedures. First and foremost, it is committed to open and accessible justice, recognising that:
- offenders need to be brought to justice quickly
- victims want timely resolutions.
There are unacceptable delays in the court system and the government is working to reduce those delays. South Australian courts must work in a more timely, effective and efficient manner.
Delays have deleterious effects:
- witness memories fade over time
- victims put their lives on hold until cases are finalised
- offenders lose the link between their actions and the punishment.
Also, defendants may be detained for long periods of time before going to trial.
The government wants matters to be finalised more quickly, especially in the District Court where there is often gridlock. To achieve reform, the government has introduced a Courts Efficiency Bill into Parliament.
This Bill will bring in procedural amendments to widen the jurisdiction of the Magistrates’ Court and improve efficiency.
There will be a Guilty Pleas Bill to encourage early guilty pleas. As well, the government is:
- introducing a pilot where prosecuting lawyers can do committals in regional courts by CCTV
- reviewing major indictable processes
- examining ways to improve procedures in civil proceedings.