Victoria Legal Aid

Summary Crime Evaluation report

An independent review of our criminal law services in the Magistrates’ Court that makes a number of recommendations about what is required to repair the system.

Note, this page contains information about the Summary Crime Evaluation. For information about the Better justice, every day project, see How we are improving our services.

About the evaluation

Summary Crime Evaluation banner

An independent review of our criminal law services in the Magistrates’ Court is now available:

The report makes recommendations about what is required to repair the system and create a space for better justice to be served.

The pressures on our criminal law services and within the busiest part of the criminal justice system – the Magistrates’ Court – have been building over several years and are now approaching a crisis point.

With thousands of extra police and more demand coming, now is the time for Victoria Legal Aid, the police, the courts and government to come together and make a concerted effort to reform this system for clients, victims and the whole community. By working together, we can deliver better justice, every day.

The findings and recommendations of this report will provide the foundation for the development of a long-term strategy around our summary crime services and for how we will work with the courts, police and government on repairing, reforming and properly funding the summary crime system.

Pressure on our criminal law service


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In 2015 we commissioned the Law and Justice Foundation of New South WalesExternal Link to undertake an independent evaluation of our summary crime services. This was prompted by rising demand for our criminal law services in the Magistrates’ Court and significant pressures on staff working across all parts of the system. We wanted to know if our summary crime program was appropriate and sustainable, so the report necessarily makes findings about the whole summary criminal justice system.

We all have a role to play in supporting our long-term summary crime strategy, which affects so many of us in our everyday work, and so many of our clients and stakeholders. The Magistrates’ Court is where most Victorians experience the criminal justice system and as the report has found the system is approaching crisis.

Pressure in the criminal justice system


More information

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Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 09 June 2022