Putting People First

The Attorney-General's Department

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Putting People First

The South Australian Government is committed to creating a future criminal justice system that meets community expectations, that protects and supports victims, and that acts quickly and effectively so that offenders face consequences in a timely manner. To do this, reform is required across the entire continuum of the criminal justice system: from police to prisons, victims of crime and witnesses, the legal profession, the judiciary, the courts and the parole board. Transforming Criminal Justice presents bold and brave ideas for reform, considering all the bodies and institutions that are part of the criminal justice system or interact with it. Read more about the initiative.


What's happening right now?

Youth Courth legislation commencing 1 January 2017

The Statutes Amendment (Youth Court) Act 2016 will commence on 1 January 2017. The Act will make a number of changes that will allow the Youth Court to operate in a more flexible manner. These changes will allow magistrates to do more of the work of the Youth Court. The title of the principal judicial officer of the Youth Court will be changed from Senior Judge to Judge. 

Read the fact sheet to find out more. 

Major Indictable Reform 

The State Government is seeking public comment on changes to the way major indictable matters are dealt with in the criminal justice system. 
The changes, which have been published as draft amendments to the Summary Procedure Act 1921, the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 and the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988, will enable courts, police, forensic services and prosecutors to focus their resources where they are most needed, and ease the pressure on our courts system. 
Proposed changes include:
  • Requiring major indictable matters to be the subject of a ‘charge determination’ by the Director of Public Prosecutions (the DPP) prior to the commencement of committal proceedings.
  • Giving courts discretion to set out realistic adjournment timeframes that reflect the needs of individual cases, and reduce unnecessary court appearances for a major indictable matter when it is in the Magistrates Court.
  • Offering a sliding scale for early guilty pleas or cooperation with the prosecution that would allow for a discount on sentencing of between 10 and 40 per cent, depending 
  • on the timing.
  • The introduction of a tiered disclosure scheme, that will allow for earlier disclosure of primary evidence to defence – helping to encourage earlier guilty pleas and supporting negotiations with prosecution.
  • Requiring ‘case statements’ to be filed by prosecution and defence prior to a matter being arraigned in the District or Supreme Courts to identify the matters that are genuinely in dispute, enabling court, police, forensic and prosecution resources to be focused on those matters.
  • Encouraging early guilty pleas.
The reforms, proposed by Attorney-General John Rau, will reduce unnecessary hearings by setting realistic time frames and making prosecution and defence reveal more about their argument in advance so they can identify and focus on the real issues in dispute.
Broader changes to the Criminal Law Sentencing Act 1988 (Sentencing Act) are also proposed, as set out in the Sentencing Bill 2016. These were the subject of a separate consultation earlier in 2016.
The Summary Procedure (Indictable Offences) Amendment Bill 2016 (Procedure Bill) contains the details of the procedural aspects of the reform. 
The Criminal Law (Sentencing) (Sentencing Reductions) Amendment Bill 2016 (Sentencing Reductions Bill) has been created to make it easier to focus on the changes to the sentencing discounts that complement this major indictable reform.
Once finalised, the Sentencing Bill and the Sentencing Reductions Bill will be combined.  
Consultation closes Tuesday 18 October 2016
Find out more:


Last updated: 
Thursday, 20 October 2016