Author Suzanne Poynton, Katherine Paterson and Don Weatherburn
Published September 2016
Report Type Bureau Brief No. 120
Subject Court processes and delay; Sentencing; Evaluation reports
Keywords NSW District Criminal Court, court delay, Rolling List Court, guilty pleas

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To determine whether greater efficiency can be achieved through application of the Rolling List Court (RLC) model to NSW District Criminal Court matters.


A non-blinded randomised trial was initiated in which eligible District Criminal Court matters were randomly assigned, after committal, either to the RLC or to the general court list. Each matter had an equal chance of being assigned to the RLC. Between March 2015 and April 2016, 110 matters were entered into the ballot; 51 of these were assigned to the RLC and 59 were assigned to the general court list.


By the end of July 2016 a significantly higher proportion of matters balloted to the RLC had been finalised compared with matters dealt with in the general court list (65% vs. 37%). Further, a higher proportion of matters dealt with by the RLC resulted in a guilty plea than matters dealt with by the control courts (63% vs. 41%). A guilty plea was entered within 3 months of ballot for nearly one in five (18%) of all the RLC matters. This compares with just 5% of matters dealt with in the control courts.


From these early results the success of the RLC to date is promising. Further analyses should be undertaken once all balloted matters have been finalised to confirm the interim findings presented here.

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