Author Wai Yin Wan, Craig Jones, Steve Moffatt and Don Weatherburn
Published June 2010
Report Type Bureau Brief No. 44
Subject Court processes and delay; Sentencing; Evaluation reports
Keywords guilty pleas, sentencing

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The aim of this study was to test whether the legislative Criminal Case Conferencing (CCC) trial scheme had any impact on the number of late guilty pleas in courts affected by the legislation.


A quasi-experimental research design was used, whereby outcomes for matters affected by the legislation (the intervention site) were compared with matters committed from all other NSW Local Courts (the comparison site). Interrupted time series analyses were employed to test whether the scheme had any impact on four markers of late guilty pleas.


Only one of the four measures showed effects consistent with a reduction in late guilty pleas. There was a small decrease in trial registrations in the intervention site (less than 1% per week) but no corresponding reduction in the comparison site. If all of this decrease were attributable to the CCC scheme, it would reflect a reduction of 23 trials in the year following the introduction of the CCC scheme (95% confidence interval = 8 to 44 trials).


This report provides only very weak evidence that the CCC scheme has achieved its stated objectives. Possible reasons for this are discussed.

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