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Snap Shot as of 1-1-2017

  • Treatment Courts: 9
  • Year Started: 1999

AODT Courts Summary

Many crimes are committed by people with significant drug related problems. Drug Courts aim to break the cycle of drug related problems and offending by facilitating treatment programs as part of the court process.

The Drug Court aims to:

  • Support Drug Court participants in addressing their drug related problems and associated lifestyle
  • Reduce the imprisonment of those with drug related problems, by addressing those problems that are integral to offending behaviour
  • Reduce post-treatment supervision requirements for participants of the Drug Court by having them address relevant requirements at the earlier stage prior to final sentencing.

Referral, Assessment and Engagement

To be referred to the Drug Court, an accused person must be facing criminal charges, be experiencing drug related problems, plead guilty at an early stage and be willing and available to participate in treatment under the supervision of the Drug Court.

Following referral to the Drug Court, an initial assessment is conducted and considered by the Drug Court magistrate to determine suitability for a Drug Court program. Final sentencing is deferred while the participant undertakes the agreed program under the judicial case management and review of the Drug Court magistrate.

When assessing a participant's suitability for inclusion in Drug Court, certain factors are considered, including the seriousness of the participant's drug related problem, the seriousness of the offences and individual requirements identified in the course of assessment.


All programs require regular appearances in Drug Court, regular monitoring (including drug screen urine testing) and participation in treatment and support services and programs. Participation in a Drug Court program is overseen by the Drug Court magistrate with the support of the Department of Corrective Services through the Court Assessment and Treatment Service (CATS), defence counsel and prosecution services.

On successful completion of a program, the magistrate will sentence the participant, taking into consideration the participant's performance in the program.


Perth, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria all have Drug Treatment Courts and the ACT just enacted legislation to set them up in the Capital Territory.  In addition, there are other treatment courts such as:

  • Mental health court, SA
  • Domestic Violence court, SA
  • Community court, Victoria
  • Juvenile/Family treatment court, Victoria
  • Koori Divisions in the Children's, Magistrates and County Courts, Victoria
  • Murri Court, Queensland
  • Nunga Court, South Australia

Solution-Focused/Specialist Courts and Specialist Court Programs in Australia

Listed By State / Territory

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



(Generally- See Here)

  • Drug Court (3 sites)
  • Family Drug Treatment Court (Marram-Ngala Ganbu (We Are One) - Koori Family Hearing Day)
  • Mental Health Court Liaison Service
  • Koori (Indigenous) Court 
  • Neighbourhood Justice Centre (Community Court)
  • Court Integrated Services Program (CISP - 3 Sites)  CISP recently received funding for an additional 17 staff to commence in July 2018. These will be located at courts with the highest demand for the program. Amongst the new positions will be additional Koori case manager roles.  This amounts to increase of around 80% and will result in almost the entire State having a CISP presence.  CROP (CISP Remand Outreach program)  Trialing new approaches to supporting accused persons who are on remand and applying for bail
  • Assessment and Referral Court List (ARC) The ARC List, which commenced at Melbourne in 2010, has received funding to allow it to expand to two additional locations. Funding includes provision for additional magistrates, registrars, case managers, prosecutors and VLA. The first expansion site is due to commence in January 2018, and the second in July 2018.  ARC works in collaboration with CISP

Western Australia


Australia News

The Canberra Times

Drug court proposal for the ACT has ample merit

In a week when drug trafficking loomed large in the public consciousness and there was renewed discussion about the desirability of countries like Indonesia softening their hardline stance on drugs, it was easy to overlook the reality that such arguments have raged on and off for years. 

Read more HERE

The Age

State government must extend Drug Court

Our political and public policy processes and institutions have a pivotal role to play in the community-wide effort to minimise the harm caused by misuse of substances, licit and illicit.

Read more HERE


The Guardian

Justice done differently: how the NSW drug court transforms lives

It’s 11am on Monday at the Parramatta district court and Judge Ian Barnett of the New South Wales drug court walks to the bench.

Dee, 35, sits in the dock in prison greens listening intently as the crown prosecutor reads out the charges against her.

Read more HERE

Useful Resources

Images from Australian AODT Court