The Joint Criminal Rules 2022 have been amended with effect from 1 January 2024. These rules apply to all SA courts that deal with criminal matters.
Amendments under the Joint Criminal (No 3) Amending Rules 2023 include the following.
Continuity of representation after committal
A new rule 24.2(4A) provides that a law firm, and the responsible solicitor at that firm, that represented the defendant in committal proceedings which resulted in the defendant being committed to a higher court, is deemed to be representing them in the higher court. If a lawyer ceases to act after a committal proceeding, an application to the higher court will be required.
A substituted r 38.5 allows the court to direct or permit a party or a lawyer to appear by audio or audio-visual link, if the court considers it is justified in the circumstances.
- an application in the prescribed form; or
- an oral application at a prior hearing; or
- ticking the remote appearance box on any form filed via the court’s electronic filing system; or
- sending an email to the chambers of the judicial officer who will hear the matter.
The request must specify why the remote appearance is necessary.
If a request is granted the requesting party must pay any costs involved, and if they are uncontactable after 15 minutes of the appointed time it will be treated as a non-appearance.
An application for a witness to appear by audio link or by audio visual link must be made by an interlocutory application in the prescribed form supported by an affidavit in the prescribed form, or an oral application at a prior hearing.
A new rule 38.9(3) provides that any written submissions must include at the end of the document the name of counsel who settled them, or, if there is no counsel, the name of the solicitor responsible.
A new Division 8—Sentencing material in Part 2 of Chapter 7 provides that any material filed for the purposes of sentencing, including reports, victim or community impact statements, or references, must be filed with a sentencing material form in the prescribed form, being Form 136 Sentencing Material.
The By Lawyers Criminal Magistrates Court guide has been updated in line with the amended criminal rules.