Supreme Court speeds up post-committal directions

A new Practice Note issued by the Supreme Court is intended to reduce delays between committal hearings and trial. Under the new guidelines, the Magistrates’ Court will be required to email documentation to the Supreme Court immediately after committal, and “where feasible, the [post-committal directions hearing] may be heard in the afternoon on the same day and otherwise will be heard at 9:30 am the following sitting day.” The new guidelines also require the parties to be ready at the first directions hearing to advise the Supreme Court about issues such as whether the accused is negotiating on a plea, the availability of witnesses, and the estimated length of the trial.