Major Indictable Reform

The Summary Procedure (Indictable Offences) Amendment Act 2017 (“the Act”) amends numerous Acts, including the Summary Procedure Act 1921, Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 and the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935. The Act facilitates a significant overhaul of committal and pre-arraignment processes, and also alters the sentencing discounts for guilty pleas. The amendments will take effect on 5 March 2018. Summary Procedure (Indictable Offences) Amendment Act 2017   (Links to

Major indictable matters will no longer follow a statutorily imposed timetable. Instead, a matter’s progress through the Court will be determined on a case-by-case basis. At the first hearing, a police prosecutor will inform the court about what evidence is required (“the preliminary brief”), and how long it is estimated to take for that evidence to be produced to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (“the ODPP”).  At least four weeks will be added to that period to enable the ODPP to assess the preliminary brief and determine which charges (if any) should proceed (“the charge determination”).

Unless and until a charge determination is made, SAPOL will retain conduct of all major indictable matters. Before this occurs, all defence communication regarding a matter will be with SAPOL’s Major Indictable Brief Unit. This includes the submission of offers of resoution. Early Guilty Plea Defence Notice and Procedure. (PDF 260KB); Early GP defence form (DOC, 456KB)

If a charge determination is made, a second hearing will occur (“the committal appearance”), at which time the ODPP will assume conduct of the matter. The Court will then set an answer charge hearing, allowing sufficient time for the preparation of a committal brief. The ODPP is required to file the committal brief at least four weeks before the answer charge hearing. MIR Documentation Requirements (PDF, 841KB)

For matters committed for trial, the period between the answer charge hearing and arraignment will be determined by the Magistrates Court. It will be at least 12 weeks. In that time, both the ODPP and Defence will file a Case Statement, which will include a summary of the prosecution case and any facts or elements which will be admitted by the defendant.

The Act also reforms the sentencing discounts available upon entering a guilty plea. If the plea is entered within four weeks of the first appearance the discount applied may be up to 40%. Under the reform, the rate of discount reduces more quickly than under the former regime. MIR Sentencing Reductions (PDF, 838KB)


For further information:

MIR Processes and Procedures (PDF, 858KB)

MIR Information Session Presentation 01-03-2018 (PDF, 187KB)