Local Government Legal

Local Government Legal prepares a regular email newsletter with legal updates on relevant court judgements and a summary and analysis of legislative changes.

May 2012 – New case management procedures for criminal matters

The Land and Environment Court

The Land and Environment Court will shortly release a new Practice Note for Class 5 environmental planning and protection summary enforcement proceedings to reflect the Criminal Procedure Amendment (Summary Proceedings Case Management) Act 2012 (NSW) (the “Amendment Act”), which was passed by the NSW Parliament on 13 March 2012 and commenced operation on 30 April 2012.

The purpose of the Amendment Act is to amend the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) to reduce delays in trial and sentencing proceedings before the Supreme Court or the Land and Environment Court (the “Courts”), in their summary jurisdiction by:

  1. requiring certain preliminary disclosures to be made by the prosecution and the defence before the proceedings are heard; and
  2. enabling the court to undertake case management where suitable in those proceedings, whether on its own motion or on application by a party to the proceedings.

Case management measures that are available to the Courts include the ordering of preliminary hearings, preliminary conferences and further preliminary disclosure.

The Amendment Act requires that the Courts give directions at the first mention of proceedings, with respect to future conduct of proceedings, including:

  1. a direction as to the time by which notice of the prosecution case is to be given; and
  2. notice of the defence response.

The Amendment Act provides that the prosecutor is to give to the defendant notice of the prosecution case by providing a copy of certain documents that they propose to rely on at the hearing. These include affidavits, statements, documents, exhibits and expert reports.

The Amendment Act further provides that the defendant is to give the prosecutor notice of the defence response to the documents that have been provided. The Court can also make further orders relating to the preliminary disclosure of the parties if it considers it to be appropriate.

The Local Court

Local Court Practice Note Crim 1 – Case Management of Criminal proceedings in the Local Court recently commenced and applies to summary proceedings and proceedings for indictable offences being dealt with summarily, in the Local Court’s criminal jurisdiction.

For these matters, at the first Court mention, if the accused pleads not guilty, the Magistrate or Registrar (other than for matters mentioned in Clause 21 of the Criminal Procedure Regulation 2010, which do not require a brief of evidence), is to make orders for service by the Prosecution of a brief of evidence in 4 weeks and to adjourn the proceedings for mention for reply in 6 weeks.

In matters where a plea of not guilty is entered in relation to matters where no brief is required, the matter is listed for hearing without requiring the prosecution to serve a brief. On the second mention, unless the accused pleads guilty, the Court will list the matter for hearing at the earliest opportunity. The Practice Note also contains provisions relating to the procedure for adjournments, vacation of hearings and listing for hearing.

Note:  This information is not to be relied upon as legal advice

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