Improving electronic communications

The Attorney-General's Department

Improving electronic communications

Whether you are sending an email at work, submitting forms online or downloading documents and information, communicating electronically is embedded in our everyday activities.

But sharing information and communicating electronically is still restricted within the criminal justice system. For example, the law currently requires some information and documents to be provided in hard copy and in person rather than electronically. These restrictions create obstacles and, in some cases, cause unnecessary delays.

The criminal justice system needs be able to keep up with society, and proactively anticipate future developments in electronic communications.

The draft Summary Procedure (Service) Amendment Bill 2016 and the draft Electronic Transactions (Criminal Proceedings) Amendment Bill 2016 propose changes to South Australia’s legislation that will allow the criminal justice sector to more easily use electronic communications in its day-to-day operations.

These reforms will increase efficiency for the sector and for the community by saving time and money, reducing delays and increasing accessibility. 

About the Bills

Community feedback was sought on these draft Bills, with consultation closing at 5pm 19 August 2016. The feedback provided is being considered in drafting the final Bill. 

Summary Procedure (Service) Amendment Bill 2016

This Bill proposes changes to the Summary Procedure Act 1921, allowing prosecutors in criminal matters to provide preliminary examination documents to the Court and the defence using a wider variety of electronic methods. The proposed changes will apply to all documentation that is currently required to be provided under the Act. 

For more information:

Electronic Transactions (Criminal Proceedings) Amendment Bill 2016

The Government proposes changes to the Electronic Transactions Act 2000 and the Electronic Transactions Regulations 2002. The changes allow for the broader use of electronic communications in criminal proceedings, including witnessing and delivering  documents. 

For more information:

These changes are part of the South Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to criminal justice system reform, through the Transforming Criminal Justice initiative. 


The management of information is an aspect of the criminal justice system that needs immediate focus. As society progresses and citizens increasingly access information in different ways and across multiple devices, there is a community expectation that the criminal justice system should keep up. Equally, efficiency should be created within organisations by employing contemporary practices so that time and resources can be better utilised.

What is electronic communication?

An electronic communication is the transmission of a message or information using an electronic device such as a computer, mobile device or fax machine.

Examples include                                                                

  • sending an email
  • sending a fax
  • lodging a form through a website
  • sending someone a document attached to an email, or through an online drop box.
Last updated: 
Friday, 19 August 2016
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