Victims of crime are being forced to endure lengthy delays in the time taken to hold offenders to account for their crimes as court case finalisations decrease and backlogs blowout.
The latest Productivity Commission Report on Government Services 2020 highlights significant problems with criminal case finalisations, caseloads, backlogs and a blowout in the cost of administering the Victorian criminal court system.
Reduced finalisations and backlogs in criminal cases are especially detrimental to victims of crime as ‘justice delayed, is justice denied.’
The performance of Victoria’s court system is in stark contrast to that of NSW where more cases are being finalised and there have been reductions in both case backlogs and the cost of administering NSW courts.
In Victoria, the total criminal court case finalisations have decreased by 7.6% in 2018-19 compared to 2017-18. In contrast in NSW there has been a 3.2% increase in finalisations over the same period.
In the Victorian Supreme Court, there has been a 23.7% increase in the backlog of criminal case appeals in 2018-19 compared to 2017-18 while the backlog in criminal appeals in the NSW Supreme Court decreased by 8.9%.
Also of serious concern is the increase in the caseload of the Victorian Children’s Court with a 25.3% increase in 2018-19 compared to 2017-18. This reflects the serious juvenile crime crisis in Victoria.
While the cost of running Victoria’s courts is increasing, their performance is going down with the total real recurrent expenditure of all criminal courts in Victoria at $262.92 million now exceeding that of NSW at $262.83 million.
The cost of running Victoria’s criminal courts increased by 8.7% in 2018-19 compared to a decrease of -0.8% in NSW during the same period.
Comments attributable to Shadow Attorney-General, Edward O’Donohue:
“Justice delay is justice denied, and under Daniel Andrews our justice system is grinding to halt, forcing victims of crime to endure lengthy delays.
“Daniel Andrews must address the concerning, and ever-increasing backlogs in Victoria’s courts.
“Victorians expect that our courts will dispense justice in a timely and cost-efficient manner but under Daniel Andrews costs are up but performance is down.”