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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 4 May 1995) . . Page.. 180 ..


MAGISTRATES COURT (CIVIL JURISDICTION) (AMENDMENT) BILL 1995

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (10.32): Mr Speaker, I present the Magistrates Court (Civil Jurisdiction) (Amendment) Bill 1995.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This is a short Bill whose primary object is to correct a minor flaw that has been discovered in the new enforcement scheme for the Magistrates Court under the amendments of the Magistrates Court (Civil Jurisdiction) Act 1982 that were effected by the Magistrates Court (Enforcement of Judgments) Act 1994, which the Assembly dealt with in the latter part of last year.

Subsection 303(2) of the Magistrates Court (Civil Jurisdiction) Act 1982 does not give a bailiff power to enter and search premises for the purpose of apprehending a person and bringing him or her before the Registrar of the Magistrates Court where he or she has failed to appear for an oral examination as to his or her financial affairs. Whilst a warrant is issued by the registrar, this is done only on the authorisation of a magistrate. Where a magistrate authorises the issue of a warrant, the registrar is required to inform the person of this and the warrant cannot be issued for a period of 14 days. This scheme gives a person who has failed to appear an opportunity to appear before the registrar to be examined as to his or her financial position. Unless there is scope for a bailiff to be authorised to use reasonable force to enter premises to apprehend a person who has failed to appear to be examined, it would be possible for a person to frustrate the enforcement processes of the court by refusing a bailiff permission to enter premises. Members will appreciate that it is in the community's interests that a person against whom an examination summons has been issued must comply with that summons. This Bill remedies the lacuna. Members will note that a bailiff will be able to use only such force as is necessary and reasonable and that a similar power is given in relation to the seizure of goods for sale under a writ of execution.

A secondary purpose of the Bill is to amend section 28 of the civil jurisdiction Act. This section requires a party to proceedings to have an address for the service of documents within the “City Area”. The City Area Leases Act 1936, under which the boundaries of the city area were determined, was repealed by the Land (Planning and Environment) (Consequential Provisions) Act 1991. The proposed amendment will require parties to have an address for service within the Territory. Mr Speaker, I present the explanatory memorandum for the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Connolly) adjourned.


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