Criminal law services Magistrates’ Court review

Criminal law services Magistrates’ Court review

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

In 2015, Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) commissioned the NSW Law and Justice Foundation to independently evaluate our Summary Crime program. Their report In summary: Evaluation of the appropriateness and sustainability of Victoria Legal Aid’s Summary Crime Program was released in mid-June 2017.

As at 31 December 2016, 72 per cent of VLA grants of legal assistance were assigned to private practitioners. Given the critical role they play in the delivery of quality summary crime services, private practitioners were well represented on the advisory group overseeing the evaluation. They were also consulted extensively during the evaluation phase. For more information, see Our 2016–17 midyear report.

The report found that the Magistrates’ Court system is approaching crisis point

It is anticipated that summary crime workload and complexity will continue to rise in response to a wide range of demographic, public policy and social factors.

The report makes 23 recommendations. VLA is now formulating a carefully considered response to those recommendations and continuing to consult with all major service delivery partners about how best to meet the significant challenges highlighted by this report.

Helen Fatouros, VLA Executive Director, Criminal Law Services said our advisory group have played the key role overseeing and guiding this evaluation.

‘The group’s representatives from Law Institute of Victoria, Victoria Police, courts, Department of Justice and Regulation and the Victorian Bar are working together for better justice.

‘We would like to thank the many practitioners who have participated and given us feedback to date.

'We will continue to work closely with the private profession as we begin the process of implementing the recommendations contained in this review. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to read the report and get in contact with us if you would like any further information.’

Executive Director Criminal Law Helen Fatouros

More information

Read the Summary Crime Evaluation report.

For more information, contact the Summary Crime Evaluation Project Manager Julia Lever Davidson on (03) 9269 0309 or by email Julia.LeverDavidson@vla.vic.gov.au.