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BB122

Author Wai-Yin Wan and Don Weatherburn
Published April 2017
Report Type Bureau Brief No. 122
Subject Court processes and delay
Keywords Trial cases, court delays

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Summary

Aim

To develop a statistical model which enables court administrators to determine the future impact on trial court delay of changes in the backlog of pending trials.

Method

Data on the size of the pending caseload between January 2011 and June 2016 were drawn from records held by the NSW District Criminal Court Registry. Data on mean and median delay between committal for trial and trial finalisation over the same time period were drawn from records held by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. Changes in the mean and median time between committal for trial and case finalisation were linked to changes in the size of the pending trial caseload using polynomial distributed lags modelling (a special form of distributed lags model).

Results

The long run effect of a 10 per cent increase (decrease) in the size of the pending trial caseload is a 5.73 per cent increase (decrease) in the mean time between committal for trial and trial finalisation and a 6.08 per cent increase (decrease) in the median time between committal for trial and trial finalisation.

Conclusion

Changes in the number of pending trial cases can be used to forecast changes in the time taken to finalise criminal cases in the NSW District Criminal Court.

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