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Chief Justice is right on court resourcing

Law Society of NSW 2 mins read

Thursday, 1 February 2024

Chief Justice is right on court resourcing  

Australia’s largest professional legal membership organisation has backed a call from the Chief Justice of NSW for the state government to ‘properly’ value and fund the courts.

President of the Law Society of NSW Brett McGrath said remarks by Chief Justice Andrew Bell delivered in a speech last night highlight the urgent need for more judicial officers, support staff and court infrastructure to meet growing demand on our justice system.

“The Law Society has consistently advocated for increased court resources, including additional magistrates and judges to reduce backlogs in our system. This issue was a central plank of the Law Society’s 2023 Election Platform,” Mr McGrath said.

“The observation from the Chief Justice that caseloads, particularly in the Local Court, are ‘unsustainable’ and that magistrates are ‘overstretched’, should encourage the NSW Government to carefully consider its approach to funding the justice system in its 2024-25 Budget.”

Chief Justice Bell made the remarks as part of his traditional address at the Law Society’s Opening of Law Term Dinner.

Mr McGrath said inadequate funding of the justice system places unfair pressures on all participants, from the bench, the bar, the witness box, the dock and the broader community.

“Courts that are not able to provide a trial outcome to accused persons in a reasonable timeframe is not only unfair to them, but also to alleged victims of crime and their families. Matters can take many months, even into years, before being resolved. The Chief Justice’s remarks echo the adage that ‘justice delayed is justice denied,” Mr McGrath said.

“While we recognise and applaud previous increases to the number of judicial officers, the justice system, as the Chief Justice has observed, is an essential service. Indeed, it is a pillar upon which rests the stability of our democracy.

“Government should also allow for the downstream effects of increases to police resources, which inevitably lead to more arrests, more pressure on courts and more people in our prisons.”

MEDIA CONTACT:
Damien Smith | Director, Media and Public Relations
The Law Society of New South Wales

M: +61 417 788 947 | E: Damien.Smith@lawsociety.com.au  

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