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Glossary of general terms

The Criminal Procedure Act 2011 came into force on 1 July 2013. It changed the landscape for criminal cases.

Prior to July 2013, charges were laid summarily or indictably, which effectively determined the path they followed in court. Historical reporting was created based on the pathways that cases were expected to follow - criminal summary, indictable pre-committal, and indictable post-committal (jury trial). Cases were counted as "new business" and "disposals" within each of these court processes. Transfers into a process were counted as new business, and transfers out as disposals. Reporting was based on parts of the criminal process, and never on the whole.

New reporting reflects a holistic approach, focussed on total criminal cases, and on the subsets with special requirements: District Court jury trials, Youth Court cases and cases to be tried and/or sentenced in the High Court.

A case is now counted as new business when it first comes into the system, that is when charges are filed.  It is counted as a disposal only when it has final charge outcomes for all its charges.  Reporting of annual statistics from July 2013 uses new terminology in order to count transfers between courts and parts of the process: "cases in" alongside "new business" and "cases out" alongside "disposals".                                             

Case review process (post June 2013)

The process step between a defendant pleading not guilty and a trial being arranged. Prosecutors and Defence Counsel meet outside of Court to discuss the case, and the Defence informs the Court of the next steps required.  A case review hearing is often held as a result if there are issues requiring input from a Judge or other Judicial Officer.

Committal hearing (prior July 2013)

Previously known as a deposition hearing or preliminary hearing. It is a hearing to decide if there is enough evidence to make the defendant stand trial. If so, the defendant is committed for trial at the end of the hearing. If not, the charges are dismissed. Committal hearings are rare.

Court type (prior July 2013)

The type or level of court, e.g. for criminal cases: the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, District Court, Youth Court.

Criminal summary process (prior July 2013)

Part of the criminal jurisdiction relating to less serious offences that are dealt with by a Judge, Justices of the Peace or a Community Magistrate, sitting without a jury. Summary offences generally carry a maximum penalty of 3 months imprisonment and include, eg common assault, wilful damage and some traffic offences.

Disposals (post June 2013)

Cases leaving the court process, by getting a final outcome or by being joined to another case (criminal only), e.g. sentence (criminal only), acquittal, dismissal, withdrawal, agreed settlement (non-criminal), or final judgment (non-criminal). If a case is directed to be reheard, e.g. after an appeal is granted, it may have more than one disposal.

For Family Court, substantive applications are counted instead of cases. For Disputes Tribunal, claims are counted.

Disposals (prior July 2013)

Cases leaving the court process, either by being moved to another process or by getting a final outcome, e.g. sentence (criminal only), acquittal, dismissal, withdrawal, agreed settlement (non-criminal), or final judgment (non-criminal).  If a case is directed to be reheard, e.g. after an appeal is granted, it may have more than one disposal.

For Family Court, substantive applications are counted instead of cases. For Disputes Tribunal, claims are counted.

Dynamic database

Data for reporting is provided by the Ministry of Justice. It is gathered from a dynamic database which means that the data is subject to change as files are updated or changed. Therefore any previous report may contain slightly different numbers due to file updating.                                       

Execution of warrant to arrest

When the Police arrest someone for whom a warrant has been issued. If the person comes into court voluntarily, the warrant may be withdrawn.

Family court substantive applications

Substantive applications are made up of applications grouped under the following case types: Adoption, Alcohol & Drugs, Child Support, Children Young Persons and their Families (CYPF), Dissolution/Marriage, Domestic Violence, Estates, Family Proceedings, Guardianship (Care of Children), Hague Convention, Mental Health, Protection of Personal and Property Rights (PPPR), Relationship Property and Miscellaneous. Substantive applications exclude applications made under the Family Court Rules, registrations under the Joint Family Homes Act and section 9 requests for counselling under the Family Proceedings Act.

Financial year

Takes place between 1 July - 30 June of each year

Indictable charges (prior July 2013)

More serious offences that are usually dealt with by a Judge and jury in either the District Court or the High Court.

Jury trial process (post June 2013)

Describes the process for cases with serious charges (offences carrying a maximum penalty of 2 or more years imprisonment, and where the defendant has elected trial by jury if required); from the end of the Case Review process until the final outcome, whether before, at, or after a jury trial.  This can be in the High Court or a District Court. (i.e. after the case review process in the District Court or Youth Court).

Jury trial process (prior July 2013)

Describes the process for cases with indictable charges; from the time the defendant is committed for trial until the final outcome, whether before, at, or after a jury trial. This can be in the High Court or a District Court. (i.e. after the pre-commital process in the District Court or Youth Court).

New business (post June 2013)

New cases entering the court process for the first time or re-entering (e.g. after an appeal is granted).

For Family Court, substantive applications are counted instead of cases.  For Disputes Tribunal, claims are counted.

New business (prior July 2013)

New cases entering or re-entering (e.g. after an appeal is granted) the court process.

For Family Court, substantive applications are counted instead of cases.  For Disputes Tribunal, claims are counted.

On hold (post June 2013)

A criminal case is usually put 'on hold' if there is a warrant to arrest the defendant(s) because they did not appear in court as required. Police have the authority to find and arrest the person and bring them to court. The case cannot be progressed until the person reappears in court unless a Judge has decided that the case may proceed in the absence of the defendant.

On hold (prior July 2013)

A criminal case is 'on hold' if there is a warrant to arrest the defendant(s) because they did not appear in court as required. Police have the authority to find and arrest the person and bring them to court. The case cannot be progressed until the person reappears in Court.

Pre-committal process (prior July 2013)

Describes the process for cases with indictable charges; from the time the charges are laid until a standard committal or a committal hearing occurs. This can be in a District Court or a Youth Court.

Pre-CPA process (post June 2013)

The process which applied to criminal cases before the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 came into force - refer to the introduction and to explanations labelled "prior to July 2013".

Standard committal for trial (prior July 2013)

This process is not a hearing and the defendant does not appear in court. A registrar completes the paperwork to commit the defendant for trial. Most defendants are committed for trial by standard committal.

Substantive hearing (post June 2013)

The hearing at which the outcome of a matter is expected to be decided.  This may be referred to as a defended hearing (family and civil), a trial (criminal and DC civil processes) or an appeal hearing.

Substantive hearing (prior July 2013)

The hearing at which the outcome of a matter is expected to be decided.  This may be referred to as a defended hearing (family, civil and criminal summary processes), a trial (jury trial and DC civil processes) or an appeal hearing.

Total active cases

Active Cases are waiting for a substantive hearing, sentencing (criminal only) or final judgment (non-criminal) as at a given date. 'On hold' cases (criminal only) are not counted as active.

For Family Court, substantive applications are counted instead of cases. For Disputes Tribunal, claims are counted.

Waiting times

A 'waiting time' is a measure of how long it takes for an active case to be allocated a substantive hearing and for which the hearing date has been decided. Waiting times are measured in days including weekends and public holidays, from the date the hearing is requested until the future scheduled date of the hearing