Inquiry into De Novo Appeals to the County Court

Content and News

The Law Reform Committee was given terms of reference for the Inquiry into De Novo Appeals to the County Court on 22 September 2005.

The Committee's final report was tabled in Parliament on 24 October 2006 and is pdf available for download as a PDF file 1.95 Mb. Other documents released by the Commmittee are also available for download from the Reports tab.

Terms of Reference

Referred by the Governor in Council on 22 September 2005.

The Governor in Council, under section 12 of the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003, requests that the Law Reform Committee of Parliament

Inquire into and report to Parliament on County Court Appeals with a particular regard to the following:

  1. the historical justifications for appeals from the Magistrate's Court to the County Court being heard de novo and whether such justifications continue to exist;
  2. the effects of the 1999 changes to County Court Appeals and the extent to which the procedures are applied in practice;
  3. the desirability or otherwise of any change having regard to any changes to the seriousness of offences heard by the Magistrates Court;
  4. the effect on the number of appeals should the current rights of appeal be changed;
  5. if that number would be reduced, the savings to the County Court which would follow;
  6. whether any proposed change would affect the way in which hearings in the Magistrates Court are conducted;
  7. if so, whether any anticipated gains in the County Court from the proposed change would be outweighed by additional costs in the Magistrates Court;
  8. in general, how the Magistrates Court and the County Court operate as one system, and what if any changes to that system will produce the best outcomes for the justice system.

This will be with a view to making recommendations on whether appeals from the Magistrate's Court to the County Court should continue to be hearings de novo, or whether they should be heard in some other way, and if so, what.

Hearings and Transcripts

The Committee may invite witnesses to a public hearing, to make representations directly to the members of the Committee and to answer questions put by the Committee. This allows the Committee to follow up points of interest and concern and often lets people who have made a submission amplify points and give additional information.

Public hearings are recorded and a transcript of evidence prepared, to ensure that the Committee has an accurate record of proceedings.

Following is the program of public hearings and the transcripts of evidence given for the Inquiry into De Novo Appeals to the County Court:

Transcripts of evidence

Melbourne, 13 February 2006

  1. pdf Office of Public Prosecutions - pdf 63.17 Kb
    Mr P. Coghlan, QC, director
    Mr B. Gardner, manager, policy
  2. pdf Law Institute of Victoria - pdf 46.17 Kb
    Mr R. Melasecca, immediate past president
    Mr M. McNamara, deputy chair
    Mr J. Dowsey, deputy chair, criminal law section
  3. pdf Victoria Police - pdf 84.08 Kb
    Superintendent S. Leane, Manager, Legal and Corporate Policy Unit
    Sergeant K. McDonald; Member, Research and Training Unit
    Ms P. Maroulis, Policy Officer
  4. pdf Victorian Bar Council and Criminal Bar Association of Victoria - pdf 57.65 Kb
    Mr R. Nankivell, Legal Policy Officer, Victorian Bar Council
    Dr D. Neal, SC, Member, Victorian Bar Council
    Dr G. Lyon, SC, Secretary, Criminal Bar Association of Victoria
  5. pdf Associate Professor J. Willis, School of Law, La Trobe University - pdf 46.49 Kb

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Melbourne, 14 February 2006

  1. pdf Youthlaw - pdf 40.00 Kb
    Ms A. Radonic, Principal Lawyer
    Ms H. Atwa, Solicitor
  2. pdf Victoria Legal Aid - pdf 67.84 Kb
    Mr M. Wighton, manager, regional divisions
    Ms T. Segbedzi, policy officer
  3. pdf Criminal Defence Lawyers Association - pdf 47.59 Kb
    Mr R. Stary, president
    Mr B. Doogue, public officer
  4. pdf Magistrates Court of Victoria - pdf 120.31 Kb
    Mr I. Gray, Chief Magistrate
    Mr M. Gurvich, magistrate
    Ms C. English, magistrate

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Melbourne, 6 March 2006

  1. pdf Supreme Court of Victoria - pdf 48.84 Kb
    Justice T. Smith

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Sydney, 10 April 2006

  1. pdf Local Court of New South Wales - pdf 75.34 Kb
    Judge D. Price, Chief Magistrate
  2. pdf Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, New South Wales - pdf 89.01 Kb
    Ms C. Girotto, deputy solicitor
    Mr M. Day, managing lawyer
  3. pdf Mr R. Bonnici, barrister - pdf 65.56 Kb
  4. pdf Legal Aid Commission, New South Wales - pdf 71.74 Kb
    Mr P. Johnson, senior legal officer, inner city Local Court section
    Ms S. Beckett, senior legal officer, inner city Local Court section
    Mr J. Mulder, solicitor in charge, Penrith Legal Aid Office
  5. pdf District Court of NSW - pdf 64.63 Kb
    Chief Judge Blanch

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The Law Reform Committee accepted the following submissions for the Inquiry into De Novo Appeals to the County Court:

  1. pdf Jennifer Taylor, 17 November 2005 - pdf 3.18 Mb
  2. Confidential, 29 November 2005
    Confidential - supplementary submission, 13 February 2006
  3. pdf Criminal Defence Lawyers Association, 20 December 2005 - pdf 242.68 Kb
  4. pdf Youthlaw, 22 December 2005 - pdf 78.53 Kb
  5. pdf Law Institute of Victoria, 3 January 2006 - pdf 60.24 Kb
  6. pdf John Willis, Associate Professor, La Trobe University, 3 January 2006 - pdf 191.25 Kb
  7. Confidential, 3 January 2006
  8. pdf Magistrates' Court of Victoria, 3 January 2006 - pdf 382.77 Kb
  9. pdf Victoria Legal Aid, 11 January 2006 - pdf 349.91 Kb
  10. pdf Victoria Police, 12 January 2006 - pdf 393.65 Kb
  11. pdf The Victorian Bar and the Criminal Bar Association of Victoria, 8 February 2006 - pdf 38.52 Kb
  12. pdf Paul Coghlan Q.C., Director of Public Prosecutions, 13 February 2006 - pdf 169.06 Kb

This inquiry has been completed. No further submissions will be accepted.