The Victorian Government welcomes the Victorian Law Reform Commission’s Committals Report (External link). The report, tabled in the Victorian Parliament on 16 September 2020, contains 51 recommendations, covering issues related to:

  • improving data collection and ensuring courts can share indictable case data
  • retaining case management in the lower court for most indictable matters
  • replacing the test for committal with a power to discharge the accused
  • improving case management in the lower courts
  • ensuring early and ongoing involvement of experienced legal practitioners
  • reforming charging practices and disclosure requirements
  • retaining cross examination in the lower courts, subject to additional safeguards.

As the report notes, the preparation for trial of indictable offences through the committal process is a matter of significant importance for the criminal justice system. The fair and efficient management of the process impacts not only the accused, the prosecution and the victim, but also witnesses and the justice system more broadly.

The Victorian Government is committed to implementing reforms to improve the committal and indictable pre-trial process in line with the policy intent of the VLRC’s recommendations, which seek to reduce trauma experienced by victims, ensure fair trial rights and improve efficiencies in the criminal trial process.

The Government will carefully consider the report and its recommendations. As part of this process, stakeholders will be consulted on the specific proposals in the report.

The Government thanks the VLRC for the significant work that has gone into this report and acknowledges the contributions of many individuals and organisations who provided input into the review.