Accused criminals in Queensland could lose the opportunity to have the evidence against them tested in court before a full trial.
A state government review of Queensland's legal system has suggested the abolition of committal hearings, The Courier-Mail reports.
Committal hearings are used to examine evidence against accused criminals before a ruling is made about whether cases should proceed to trial.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has told the paper he's seeking feedback about the efficiency of the committals process.
"There would have to be a very compelling case before such a significant change was made to our court system. The right to a fair trial is a fundamental principle of our justice system," he said.
The review, by former Queensland justice director-general Brian Stewart, says committals have become redundant.
"The committals process is now very much a paper based system and having hearings in the Magistrates Court to simply rubber stamp cases to superior courts seems to add little value," Mr Stewart wrote.
"Most of the Australian states have reportedly abandoned committals in recent years and this is an issue that could be considered."
But the idea has prompted dire warnings from lawyers.
Queensland Bar Association president Roger Traves, QC, said the committal process was important in the legal system.
"Committals are a safeguard against misconceived prosecutions, because they expose cases which are unworthy of trial. On the other hand, they promote early pleas of guilty where the case is strong, and seen by the accused to be so," he said.
"It is likely that the abolition of committals would lead to more late pleas of guilty and the less efficient operation of the trial courts."
Supreme Court Justice Paul de Jersey told the paper Queensland's committal system seemed to be working satisfactorily.