Backlogs in our criminal court system mean that justice is delayed for victims of crime and witnesses are waiting for extensive periods of time for matters to be resolved. The government is committed to reducing the time it takes for matters to come to trial and to implementing reforms that will encourage the earlier resolution of serious criminal offences, which will benefit all participants in the system.
Summary Procedure (Indictable Offences) Amendment Bill 2017
The Summary Procedure (Indictable Offences) Amendment Bill 2017 passed Parliament on 30 May 2017.
The Bill makes changes to the Summary Procedure Act 1921, the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 and the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988. It enables courts, police, forensic services and prosecutors to focus their resources where they are most needed, and ease the pressure on our courts system.
The changes aim to reduce unnecessary hearings by setting realistic time frames and making the prosecution and defence prepare case statements to identify the matters that are in dispute in advance of trial.
Consultation on these changes occurred in October 2016, with submissions received from the sector and community.
The Efficient progression and resolution of major indictable matters - consultation paper (PDF 1.29MB) proposes substantial changes to the way in which major indictable matters progress, with a view to greater overall system efficiency.
The consultation period for this paper closed on 30 April 2015.
The paper outlines a range of recommendations including:
- a system for pre-charge bail
- changes to the committal process for major indictable offences
- an enhanced pre-trial disclosure for both the prosecution and the defence.
This will be a significant shift for all parties in the criminal justice system, but it is crucial to bring about truly effective improvement.