District Court of Western Australia

Criminal Practice Directions and Circulars

Criminal Practice Directions are issued by the Chief Judge and supplement the procedures set out in the Criminal Procedure Act 2004 (WA) and the Criminal Procedure Rules 2005 (WA). They impose obligations on the parties and their lawyers. Circulars to Practitioners are issued by the Principal Registrar and provide guidance about the practice of the court.

The District Court has updated its Criminal Consolidated Practice Directions with the following new Practice Direction (PD) and Circular to Practitioners (CP):

  • PD 12 - Letters of Recognition; and
  • CP 21 - Secure Court Hearings.

PD 12 sets out the practice that must be followed in all criminal proceedings where a Letter of Recognition is provided to a judge sentencing an offender who has provided assistance to police or another investigative agency.

Consistently with the High Court decision in HT v Queen [2019] HCA 40, the PD proceeds on the basis that defence counsel are entitled to view/hear the content of a Letter of Recognition.

CP 21 outlines the conduct of proceedings in secure court.

As part of a recent District Court Building digital audio visual upgrade a facility has been created that enables a ‘Secure Court Mode’ hearing to be conducted in a courtroom without the normal functionality of sending audio visual images to court monitors and transcribers.

Proceedings in secure court will primarily be conducted for applications for non-disclosure orders.

PD 12 and CP 21 are now available on the Court’s website as part of the Criminal Consolidated Practice Directions.

Shane Melville
Principal Registrar
9 October 2020

By way of further management of COVID-19 and its potential impacts on the community and the legal profession and with a view to reducing the risk of coming into contact with COVID 19, from 20 March 2020 the court proposes to reduce the number of persons present at the Friday sentence mention list at any one time.

Accordingly the Friday sentence mention list will be broken down into smaller groupings. The effect of this is that the practitioner appearing for an accused within that grouping will be given a not before time for their appearance.

The practitioner will be permitted to appear by telephone link should he or she wish to do so. Should the practitioner wish to appear by telephone link it will be necessary to contact the District Court by email at criminaldc@justice.wa.gov.au with the practitioner’s telephone number. The telephone number provided should enable the court to call the practitioner directly, so that it is not necessary to go through the practitioner’s switchboard or receptionist. The practitioner must be available in his or her office.

Unless there is an issue with continuing bail or surety, the practitioner’s client may answer bail by attending the practitioner’s office and the practitioner providing to the court confirmation of the client’s attendance.

Shane Melville
Principal Registrar
17 March 2020


Last updated: 9-Oct-2020

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