This paper assesses whether the Local Court Process Reforms (LCPR) are associated with shorter police time preparing Briefs of Evidence, longer hearing times for defended cases, more court adjournments and longer court delay/ finalisation times.
Method: A quasi-experiment where Manly Local Court returned to the non-LCPR arrangements in relation to Briefs of Evidence (BOE). These offenders were compared with a baseline group of offenders from Manly Local Court under the LCPR arrangements. Mt Druitt Local Court was used as the control group whereby they remained under the LCPR system.
Results: Changing to the non-LCPR system in Manly Court did not result in an increase in the percentage of Table 1 (T1) offenders who had briefs prepared. Table 2 (T2) and non-specified summary offenders had a lower mean number of police statements in their briefs during the LCPR period compared with the non-LCPR period. There was no change in the mean hearing time for defended cases in Manly Court during the non-LCPR period, nor in the mean number of adjournments. In Manly Local Court the average finalisation time for all offenders was shorter during the LCPR period compared with the non-LCPR period. In the control Mt Druitt Local Court, there was no change in finalisation times for the baseline and intervention LCPR groups of offenders.
Conclusion: The LCPR arrangements resulted in shorter briefs for T2 and non-specified summary offenders with fewer police statements. However, the non-LCPR requirement of briefs for all T1 offenders in Manly Local Court did not occur. Rather than resulting in longer finalisation times, the LCPR system had shorter finalisation times in Manly Local Court. The LCPR system did not have more local court adjournments compared with the non-LCPR system, nor longer defended hearings.