Committals: make a submission

The Victorian Law Reform Commission has been asked to report on Victoria's committal system. The Commission is asked to consider whether Victoria should maintain, abolish, replace or reform the present committal system, as well as best practice for supporting victims and means of reducing trauma to victims and witnesses.

The Commission published an issues paper on 24 June 2019, including a call for submissions. Your input will help us to develop recommendations for reform.

Before you respond, we encourage you to read the issues paper, which sets out information and options about the issues being discussed.

You do not have to answer all questions - you can answer as many or as few as you like. You can make a submission using the form below, alternatively you can email or post your submission to us (preferably as a Word document or pdf, or in hard copy).

Your submission will be published on our website unless you ask us to keep it confidential. You can choose your preferred confidentiality option below.

Note that if you choose 'Keep my submission confidential' then the Commission will not be able to directly refer to your submission or quote from it in the report in a way that might identify you.

We will not place on our website, or make available to the public, submissions that contain offensive or defamatory comments or which are outside the scope of the reference.

The Commission will consider all responses in developing recommendations, and may use or refer to responses in the final report. The report will be provided to the Victorian Government and published on the Commission’s website.

Submissions are invited by 16 August 2019.

If you would like to receive updates on this project, please subscribe to our e-newsletter on the Contact Us page.

Your name, organisation (if any) and contact details (required)

How would you like us to treat your submission? Choose one of the following and enter it in the box below:

(a) Publish my submission and my name on the VLRC website

(b) Publish my submission but not my name

(c) Keep my submission confidential (do not publish it) - in this case the Commission will not be able to directly refer to or quote from your submission in the report in a way that might identify you.

1 What purposes can or should committal proceedings serve?

2 What, if any, measures should be introduced to:

(a) reduce the difference between charges that are initially filed and those ultimately prosecuted?

(b) ensure appropriate charges are filed at the earliest possible stage in a case?

3 Should the OPP be involved in determining appropriate indictable charges at an earlier stage? If so, how?

4 What measures can be introduced to improve disclosure in indictable matters:

(a) between investigating agencies and the DPP?

(b) between prosecutors and the defence?

5 To what extent do committal proceedings play a necessary role in ensuring proper and timely disclosure?

6 Could appropriate and timely disclosure occur within a pre-trial procedure that does not include committal proceedings?

7 To what extent, if at all, is the ability to cross-examine witnesses during a committal hearing necessary to ensuring adequate and timely disclosure of the prosecution case?

8 Should some or all of the existing pre-trial opportunities to cross-examine victims and witnesses be retained? If so, why?

9 Should cross-examination at a committal hearing be further restricted or abolished? If so, why?

10 If cross-examination at a committal hearing is further restricted, how should this occur?

11 Are there any additional classes of victims or witnesses who should not be cross-examined pre-trial? If so, who?

12 What additional measures could be introduced to reduce trauma for victims or other vulnerable witnesses when giving evidence or being cross-examined at a committal or other pre-trial hearing?

13 Should the current test for committal be retained?

14 Having regard to the DPP’s power to indict directly, is there a need for a test for committal?

15 Is there an appropriate alternative process for committing an accused person to stand trial?

16 How effectively do committal proceedings ensure:

(a) appropriate early resolution of cases

(b) efficient use of court time

(c) parties are adequately prepared for trial?

17 Are there other pre-trial procedures that could equally or more effectively ensure:

(a) appropriate early resolution of cases

(b) efficient use of court time

(c) parties are adequately prepared for trial?

18 How should concerns that committal proceedings contribute to inappropriate delay be addressed?

19 How should concerns that other pre-trial processes contribute to inappropriate delay be addressed?

20 Do committal proceedings contribute to inappropriate delay in the Children’s Court?

21 What are the resource implications of any proposed reforms to committal or pre-trial proceedings?

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