Summary Procedure Reform
CLANT has made this Submission to the Northern Territory Government in relation to the Justice and Other Legislation Amendment (Summary Procedure) Bill 2014. CLANT supports the Bill’s key aim of reforming the summary justice system to make it more efficient, in particular by having more cases settle, and at an earlier stage. CLANT also supports the conferral of powers on magistrates to provide sentence indications and sentencing discounts of up to 40% for early pleas.
However, CLANT opposes the remainder of the Bill, which contains serious flaws and deals with procedural matters which, in CLANT’s submission, are best left to the court itself to manage. As previously reported here, those matters are currently regulated by Practice Direction No. 4 of 2014, which was issued by the Chief Magistrate following detailed and comprehensive consultation with stakeholders, including CLANT. In CLANT’s view, the Bill should be delayed at least until a reasonable opportunity has been provided to gauge the effectiveness of the Practice Direction.