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Magistrates’ court modernises listing practices

Briefs

New listing protocols introduced by the Magistrates’ Court aim to develop greater flexibility in managing the Court’s caseload and reduce delays.

Chief Magistrate Ian Gray said it was no longer acceptable for courts to bulk list virtually all matters at 10am and the protocols introduced a more sophisticated way of handling the Court’s caseload.

The protocols give a wider listing timeframe within which cases are listed day-by-day to accommodate certain types of cases earlier in the day or at other specified times, and they introduce as much time certainty as practicable.

“The new listing protocols will consolidate the early gains already made in delay reduction, standardise case listing throughout the state while maintaining some flexibility for smaller and country courts, and ensure greater time certainty with less waiting demanded of parties to court proceedings,” Chief Magistrate Gray said.

He said the new protocols had been based on the success of their piloted introduction at several venues of the Court.

From 28 April the Court has introduced a program of staggered listing, which includes the listing of all first mentions at 9.30am and subsequent mentions and guilty pleas at 11am. There will be specific listing times for individual Courts along with time certainty.

“Readiness for hearing is an issue that continues to be of concern for both the Court and the professional user groups in terms of managing time effectively. The Court is always interested in consulting with legal practitioners and barristers to discuss and consider ways to address issues that affect the readiness for hearing,” Chief Magistrate Gray said.

The Court has been in the process of developing an electronic filing appearance system (EFAS) for professional users to achieve time efficiencies for the Court and greater convenience for parties to proceedings.

EFAS will be a web-based application that allows professional users of the Court to access the Court list to add representation to a case, enter an appearance and request an adjournment, or enter an appearance and update hearing details.

“The success of the protocols is dependent on the continuing productive and collaborative relationship between the Court, prosecuting agencies and the legal profession,” Chief Magistrate Gray said.

For the Listing Protocols, see page 76 of this edition of the LIJ.

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