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Queensland Court Referral (QCR)

What is Queensland Court Referral (QCR)?

Queensland Court Referral (QCR) is a bail-based referral service that assists people who have been charged with a criminal offence to access services that can help them with issues they may be facing such as drug and/or alcohol dependency, mental illness, intellectual disability, cognitive impairment, and homelessness or risk of homelessness. It operates in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

The purpose of the program is to:

  • provide short term assistance to defendants appearing on charges who have a health and/or social problem by referring them to treatment or community support services
  • reduce long term re-offending by addressing the causes of offending behaviour.

How can I get help from the program?

To be eligible, you must be on bail or be eligible for bail for an offence to be dealt with in the Brisbane Magistrates Court and have one or more of the following issues:

  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Mental health problems
  • Impaired decision-making capacity
  • Homelessness and social issues

You do not need to be pleading guilty to all your charges to be eligible.

You may request to be assessed for the program yourself or you may be referred by someone else, your legal representation or a government or non-government agency or support service. You will need to give consent for your criminal records and histories to be provided to agencies for a suitability assessment.

You should talk to a lawyer about participating in the program.

What happens if I am eligible?

If it appears you may be eligible for the program, you will be interviewed by the QCR Facilitator, who will complete a Screening and Referral Form (SRF). A copy of the form will then be provided to the prosecution, yourself and your legal representation.

The magistrate will consider the SRF and any other relevant matters or submissions and make a decision. If the magistrate decides you may be suitable, the matter will be adjourned for 2-3 weeks. This is to allow time for the referral to be assessed by the Case Assessment Group (CAG).

The Case Assessment Group (CAG) will determine whether it is appropriate to refer you to a service and what service you should be referred to. In making their decision, they will consider:

  • the safety of the service providers
  • your willingness to participate in the program, and
  • the information you provide to enable the CAG to identify the most suitable service or treatment for you.

When the adjournment is over and you go back to court, the QCR Facilitator will make recommendations to the magistrate about whether or not you are suitable to be referred into the program. If the magistrate agrees to refer you, they will adjourn the matter for up to 3 months so that you can access the recommended support services or treatment.

The magistrate may adjourn the matter for a shorter period so the court can receive a progress report. The total amount of time the matter will be adjourned for from the date you are referred into the program by the magistrate must not be more than 3 months.

Which agencies are involved in Queensland Court Referral?

The agencies who are involved in Queensland Court Referral are:

  • Micah Projects
  • Richmond Fellowship Queensland (RFQ)
  • Brisbane Youth Service (BYS)
  • Hart 4000
  • Department of Health
  • The Salvation Army

What happens if I participate in the program?

When you go back to court, a report from the service provider will be given to the court. The magistrate may ask you about your involvement with the process and any service provider you are referred to.

If you engage with the process, the magistrate may take this into account when sentencing you.

What happens if I fail to participate in the QCR process?

You should get legal advice.

If the magistrate has ordered that you participate with the QCR process as a condition of your bail and you breach these conditions, then you may be charged with a further criminal offence of breach of bail.

It may be a breach of the conditions, if you:

  • do not attend appointments, meetings and assessments without reasonable excuse
  • display poor attitude and behaviour towards the service providers
  • fail to participate with the service providers, or
  • have no contact with the service providers or the Case Assessment Group (CAG).

If you no longer wish to participate in the program you should get legal advice.

Do I need legal advice?

You may need legal advice if:

  • you are considering participating in the Queensland Court Referral program
  • you want to withdraw from the Queensland Court Referral program
  • you think you have breached the conditions of the Queensland Court Referral program.

Get legal advice

Legal Aid Queensland may provide advice on most areas of Queensland criminal law.

The following services may also be able to provide you with legal advice and assistance.

Community legal centres provide free legal advice and information on criminal law. Check with them to see if they can help with your matter.

Queensland Law Society can refer you to a specialist private solicitor for advice or representation on criminal law matters.

Interstate Legal Aid Commissions can provide information and advice on criminal charges or court appearances outside of Queensland.

Who else can help?

The following organisations may also be able to help you. They do not give legal advice.

Queensland courts provide information for people going to court (defendants and witnesses) and general information about the different types of courts in Queensland, eg magistrates, district, Supreme, Mental Health Court, Childrens court, Coroners court, and more.

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