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  • Jason Regan

Judge only trials to ease Vic backlog

Judge only trials will be reintroduced in Victoria to help the state cope with its crippling number of cases. 

The measures, if passed, will introduce the option of judge-only trials for criminal matters and special hearings. They will be in effect for a year, and jury trials will also continue during this time. 

Judge only trials were previously introduced in July 2020 due to the pandemic but there was little uptake for the option. It was repealed in April 2021.

The Justice Legislation Amendment (Trial by Judge Alone and Other Matters) Bill will extend to video link proceedings. Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said the measures would drive down court backlogs and reduce wait times as well as keeping courtrooms COVID-19 safe. 

"Our justice system's response to the global pandemic has been impressive – the changes that have been made will mean better access to justice across Victoria for years to come," she said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The courts are working tirelessly to reduce caseloads and get things back on track – but we know it will take some time for things to get back to normal – so we're doing all we can to help the system continue to adapt and deliver outcomes quicker."


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