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Improving information sharing

Considering the flow of information through the criminal justice system is an important aspect of the Transforming Criminal Justice initiative. 

Using technology to create efficiencies, measure our performance and develop insights into the nature of our criminal justice system will ensure that we improve outcomes. Improving accessibility and transparency, and protecting vulnerable persons through the use of audio visual technologies will mean that justice is available to all.

Gradually moving away from a wholly paper-based environment, implementing automation so manual processing is not required and allowing citizens to access information from their personal devices will mean delays, confusion and waiting times are reduced.

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 government is proposing 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 changes

Summary Procedure (Service) Amendment Bill 2017

This Bill is currently before Parliament. It proposes changes to the Summary Procedure Act 1921, allowing evidence to be filed and exchanged through a wider variety of electronic methods. The proposed changes will apply to all documentation that is currently required to be provided under the Act, including prosecution briefs, photos, recordings and notices of court hearings and charges.

The Bill will also:

  • allow police to issue on the spot a summons for a person to appear in court
  • future-proof the criminal justice system by allowing it keep pace with evolving technologies
  • allow the Magistrates Court to create new rules to allow guilty pleas to be lodged online.

Community feedback was sought on draft legislation in July-August 2016, and was considered in the drafting of the Bill.

For more information:

Electronic Transactions (Legal Proceedings) Amendment Bill 2017

This Bill was passed by Parliament on 29 March 2017.

The Bill modifies the Electronic Transactions Act 2000allowing for the broader use of electronic communications in legal proceedings. 

Previously, authorities needed consent of the intended recipient to send material electronically. The changes to the Act relax these conditions, so that consent is implied if it can be ascertained that the recipient has internet access and the ability to download and print a document, in certain criminal and related proceedings.

For more information:

Community feedback on these changes was sought through an   Electronic Transactions (Criminal Proceedings) Amendment Bill 2016 - consultation draft (PDF 38KB) with consultation closing at 5pm 19 August 2016.

Discussion paper

Connecting the criminal justice system through information management (PDF 112KB) was a discussion paper in the improving information sharing series, as part of the Transforming Criminal Justice initiative. It was released in March 2016.

What was being decided?

This paper looked at ways in which improved information sharing, through better business practice and use of technology, can deliver better criminal justice services to the South Australian community.

It sought to understand and improve how victims, witnesses and defendants interact with the criminal justice system. It also explored the community’s vision of what an accessible and transparent criminal justice system might look like a system that fosters community confidence through improved information management.

The intention of this discussion paper was to share information about work that has been underway, and work that is planned with the community. Feedback was sought from all people who participate within the criminal justice system.

Some specific issues for consideration were:

  • Electronic communication – does the community see the opportunity for online management of some criminal justice issues?
  • Online services – in what ways would the community like to interact with the criminal justice system? What services should be done electronically or online?
  • What information would the community like to receive electronically or access online?
  • Does more extensive use of video conferencing appeal to the community?
  • What opportunities does the legal profession see for increasing productivity in the criminal justice system through the use of more contemporary practices?

The discussion paper was made available on yourSAy, and consultation closed on 30 April 2016. All feedback received has been taken into consideration as part of the Transforming Criminal Justice initiative.