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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 1995) . . Page.. 1600 ..


after themselves without the need for a government endorsement of suitable barristers. Endorsement of particular advocates by the government would also appear to run counter to the barristers' stated position of maintaining independence from the influence of the state in representing the interests of individuals.

In short, Mr Speaker, the Bill will repeal those provisions of the Legal Practitioners Act 1970 relating to the appointment of queen’s counsel and the precedence of legal practitioners and it will abolish any prerogative right or power of the Crown to appoint practitioners as queen’s counsel or to grant precedence. The Bill also preserves the Executive's power to revoke an existing appointment of a person as a queen’s counsel, whether the appointment was made under the statutory power in section 5 of the Legal Practitioners Act or the Crown's prerogative power. I would imagine that this power would be rarely, if ever, exercised. Existing appointments, other than in relation to precedence, are not affected by this Bill.

I note that since the imposition of the moratorium the Bar Association has appointed its first senior counsel. I think there are now two such people. After the passage of this Bill the according of status and precedence to particular practitioners will remain a matter for the local profession. I do not believe that it is an appropriate matter for the Supreme Court to concern itself with, other than to provide advice to the Bar Association as to the suitability of a particular practitioner for appointment as a senior counsel. I have not, however, thought it necessary to follow the New South Wales legislation which prohibits the judiciary from setting up a system of according status or precedence to legal practitioners. I certainly would not encourage such a practice. Mr Speaker, I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Connolly) adjourned.

REMAND CENTRES (AMENDMENT) BILL 1995

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (10.42): Mr Speaker, I present the Remand Centres (Amendment) Bill 1995, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR HUMPHRIES: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill is the first of two Bills which will allow certain categories of convicted prisoners to be held temporarily in the Belconnen Remand Centre and will make associated amendments. Whilst the main purpose of the Belconnen Remand Centre is to hold adults in custody pending the hearing of criminal charges against them, a number of other categories of people, including certain convicted prisoners, unauthorised immigrants and juveniles who are charged with very serious offences, may be held there under existing law.


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