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Looking for Submissions for the Queensland Magistrates Court’s Criminal Procedure Review

This review has been established to undertake a comprehensive review of criminal procedure laws in Queensland’s Magistrates Courts.

The Justices Act 1886 (Justices Act) sets out the current criminal procedure laws applying in the Magistrates Courts. The Justices Act was written in the 1880s and—although it is still used every day in the Magistrates Court—has not been fully reviewed and is difficult to read and understand.

Mr Michael Shanahan AM, a retired District Court judge, has been appointed as the independent reviewer (the reviewer).

The scope of the review is outlined in the Terms of reference.

The reviewer has been asked to make findings and recommendations for a new legislative framework for contemporary and effective criminal procedure laws in Queensland’s Magistrates Courts. This new framework will follow the order of events in a criminal proceeding in the Magistrates Courts, from starting proceedings to finalisation, including an appeals process.

The following will be considered as part of the review:

  • options for improving and consolidating existing Magistrates Courts criminal procedure laws
  • alternative ways the Magistrates Courts could deal with criminal matters
  • supporting the increased use of technology and electronic processes
  • how laws can balance the interests of victims and accused persons
  • the need to protect and promote human rights.

The reviewer is also asked to consider if:

  • a single Magistrates Court of Queensland should be established, and
  • Magistrates and the Magistrates Courts should be retitled as Local Court Judges and Local Court/s respectively, having regard to the costs and benefits of such a change.

The review involves broad consultation, including with the Queensland judiciary, legal stakeholders, and the community generally.

Feedback from this consultation will inform the reviewer’s considerations and assist in shaping a new legislative framework for contemporary and effective criminal procedure laws in Queensland’s Magistrates Courts to ultimately replace the Justices Act.

Opportunities to have your say

Submissions can be made in writing by:

We are also accepting audio and video submissions, which you can email to Criminal-Procedure-R@justice.qld.gov.au. Audio and video submissions must be no larger than 50MB. Files that are larger than 50MB must be saved on a USB stick and sent to the above postal address.

Submissions in response to the consultation paper close at 5pm on 30 June 2022.

To find out more information please click on: https://www.justice.qld.gov.au/initiatives/criminal-procedure-review-magistrates-courts/consultation