​New Laws to ease District Court Backlog​​

​Issued: Thursday, 25 August 2016

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The NSW Government is making justice faster, fairer and more accessible with new laws introduced today by Attorney General Gabrielle Upton designed to reduce delays in court.

The Crimes Procedure Amendment (Summary Proceedings for Indictable Offences) Bill 2016 will allow four property-related crimes currently dealt with in the District Court to be heard in the Local Court.

“Allowing these offences to be heard by the Local Court will mean approximately 25 fewer criminal trials in the District Court every year and put a dent in the criminal trial backlog,” Ms Upton said.

“It will reduce delays and uncertainty for victims and witnesses while they wait for matters to be resolved, which can be achieved faster in the Local Court.”

“It also means earlier resolution for offenders, and access to support and supervision for rehabilitation.”

The reform package will also include funding for one new magistrate and two police prosecutors to support the additional work in the Local Court.

The four offences, where committed in the following circumstances, include:

  • breaking and entering or breaking out of a dwelling-house
  • committing or having intended to commit stealing or malicious damage
  • being in company with one or more persons, and
  • where the value of any property concerned is less than $60,000

The most serious cases can continue to be heard in the District Court at the discretion of the Police and Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Department of Justice will conduct a 12 month review of the reform on sentencing and the workload of the Local Court, District Court and justice agencies.

This reform is part of the $570 million package announced in the 2016-17 Budget to support comprehensive reform of the justice system, including immediate measures to reduce demand on courts to reduce reoffending.