Case management process

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The Criminal Procedure Act 2011 has case management processes for when a proceeding under the Act is adjourned after a not guilty plea has been entered.

Case management memorandum

After a represented defendant pleads not guilty to a category 2, 3, or 4 offence, a case management memorandum (CMM) will be issued to the defendant’s lawyer. The CMM will be pre-populated with information including:

  • the relevant date for filing the CMM and date of the case review
  • the charges
  • whether the defendant intends to change their plea
  • whether the prosecutor intends to seek leave to amend or withdraw any charges
  • whether the prosecutor proposes to add a new charge or charges against the defendant
  • whether the defendant requests a sentence indication
  • whether the prosecutor or the defendant, or both, consider there is a matter that requires judicial intervention and, if so, the nature of that matter.

Case management discussions

Following an adjournment to case review, the defendant’s lawyer and the prosecutor must discuss the purpose of progressing the case and must jointly complete the CMM. In cases where the Crown has assumed responsibility for the proceedings pursuant to the Crown Prosecutions Regulations 2013, it will be the Crown prosecutor who engages in the discussions with the defendant’s lawyer. The Act is deliberately silent as to how case management discussions must take place – they could be face-to-face, by telephone or email, or a combination of these.

Completing a CMM

The CMM is divided into a checklist sheet followed by parts A, B, C and D.

Part A: charges

This must be completed in all cases, including information such as:

  • details of the charge
  • if the prosecutor is seeking leave to add new charges to the proceeding at case review, the new charges can be listed
  • information regarding jointly charged defendants
  • information regarding a transfer to the High Court if the case includes a Protocol Offence.

Part B: judicial intervention

There are 3 areas that must be completed:

  • sentence indication, if an indication has been requested in Part A
  • sentencing information, if a guilty plea has been indicated in Part A
  • other matters, if judicial intervention is required.

Part C: judge-alone trial

This part must be completed if a judge-alone trial is required, including:

  • the estimated duration and availability or non-availability of prosecution and defence
  • the number of prosecution and defence witnesses. Also note if any special arrangements are required
  • any admissions of fact or issues.

Part D: authentication

Signatures are not required if authenticated electronically and dated.

If using the blank downloadable CMM form, the parties must take care to ensure that all required information, including information pre-populated by the Court, is recorded when submitting the document.

Timeframe for filing

The jointly completed CMM must be filed by the defendant’s lawyer no later than 5 working days before the date of the case review hearing. Both the filing date and the case review date will be on the CMM when it's issued to the defendant’s lawyer. The defendant’s lawyer must also serve a copy of the completed CMM on the prosecutor.

Find more information about the filing and service of documents.

Find more information about the timeframes for filing documents, holding case reviews, time between appearances and responding to applications

Unrepresented defendants

An unrepresented defendant is not required to engage in case management discussions with the prosecutor, nor is the prosecutor required to complete and file a CMM. Instead, unrepresented defendants will be given a notice by the Registrar stating the matters that the defendant may need to address at case review.

Case review

At the case review hearing, the court must deal with any matter that has been identified in the CMM. If the defendant is unrepresented, the parties must inform the court of the matters that would otherwise have been identified in the CMM.

A Registrar may conduct case review only if the defendant is represented and the CMM filed does not raise any matter that the court must deal with (for example, if both parties are ready for the case to progress to trial with no changes to charges sought, no guilty pleas are indicated, or no other requirement exists for judicial intervention).

If a case is to progress to trial, the proceedings may be adjourned from case review to a judge-alone trial or trial callover. Before the trial callover, the prosecutor and defence lawyer must file formal statements and a Trial Callover Memorandum (TCM) which contain trial information such as estimated duration, number of witnesses to be called, and details of any pre-trial applications or matters to be resolved before the trial.

If an application for a pre-trial admissibility hearing in judge-alone proceedings is granted at case review, the case will be adjourned to that pre-trial hearing and a judge-alone trial will be scheduled.

Cases requiring a protocol order under section 68 (that the trial is to be heard in a District Court or the High Court) or determination of an application made under section 70 (transfer to the High Court) will be adjourned to a next event in the District Court pending the order being made. This event may be a judge-alone trial (or pre-trial hearing) or jury trial, depending on the case. Only if a High Court trial is ordered will the case be transferred from the District Court.

Directions about case management procedure

Case management applies automatically to cases involving category 2, 3 or 4 offences but does not automatically apply to cases involving only category 1 offences.

In either case, if it will facilitate resolution of the proceeding, or it is otherwise in the interests of justice to do so, a Judge may:

  • authorise or accept a departure from any of the case management requirements as set out for Case Review and CMM for category 2, 3, or 4 offences 
  • direct that any of the case management requirements apply for category 1 offences
  • give any other directions in relation to the management of the case (for all categories).

Directions about case management may be given on the Judge’s own motion or on the application of the prosecutor or the defendant.

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