The Courts Administration Authority monitors the performance of its Courts and provides/publishes statistical information. The measures exclude information relating to judicial decisions of court cases.

Court performance – criminal and civil statistics

The following statistics provide workload information on the current financial year and the two previous years for the three Court levels operating within the Courts Administration Authority, South Australia. Data is based on the Report on Government Services counting methodology.

Criminal lodgments have decreased in 2016-17. This is mainly attributed to the removal of breach of bail offences from the data, to be consistent with the National Counting Rules. Breach of bail offences are included in previous years data.

The SA Supreme Court presides over serious criminal matters such as murder, treason and certain serious drug offences and also determines appeals from the lower courts. In its civil jurisdiction the Supreme Court determines cases with unlimited amounts for general and personal injury matters.

The SA District Court is the principal criminal trial court and has jurisdiction to try a charge of any offence except treason or murder or offences related to those charges. Almost all matters have been referred following a committal process in the Magistrates Court. The District Court hears unlimited claims for general and personal injury matters in its civil jurisdiction.

The Magistrates Court handles the greatest proportion of litigation in the State. Nearly all criminal matters begin in the Magistrates Court and the civil jurisdiction hears approximately 90 per cent of all civil disputes within the state.

The Youth Court of South Australia presides over matters in relation to criminal offending, child protection, adoption, and surrogacy. Adoption and surrogacy figures do not form part of the Report on Government Service counting methodology and are therefore excluded. The Youth Court hears complaints of offences alleged to have been committed by young people in its criminal jurisdiction.

In its civil jurisdiction, the court hears matters relating to a child’s care and protection, and the court also hears applications for intervention orders. The Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 made significant changes regarding the type of Applications made to the Youth Court and how they could be dealt with. Prior to 2018 certain applications, (e.g., applications for short term orders), could be summarily decided, within strict legislative timeline requirements. Matters are no longer summarily decided and therefore a number of additional adjournments are sought. There has been an introduction of a Reunification Court which is a Smart Court Model. The Court engages with the family while there is a reunification process being undertaken. This can mean that a file remains open in this jurisdiction for up to 12 months (via an interim order) returning to Court regularly to review the reunification plans.

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Intervention Orders

The Intervention Orders (Prevention of Abuse) Act 2009 (the Act) replaced the previous provisions for restraining orders and domestic violence restraining orders under the Summary Procedure Act 1921 and Domestic Violence Act 1994, respectively. The new Act introduced significant changes to improve the protection of individuals; these included the imposition of additional obligations upon the Court to notify various agencies and the provision of additional powers to the police to issue interim intervention orders without a court application. Police-issued interim orders must be listed before the Court within eight days of issue in the metropolitan area. Court applications can still be made by parties, including the police.

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