Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 March 2018) . . Page.. 757 ..


person with a language difficulty or a mental or physical disability feels they would be unable to partake in jury duty, they have the option of claiming an exemption.

Every year, thousands of Canberrans interact with the ACT justice system in a number of different capacities. The government must make sure that these interactions are efficient and effective and that the system embodies the key principles of our legal system: fairness, justice and equality before the law. The bill before the Assembly today makes several amendments that improve the clarity of existing legislation. Some of the amendments improve the competence, independence and efficiency of our legal system. Others enable more people to access the courts, improve the fairness of the outcome and improve the system’s cultural sensitivity. These procedural changes to different limbs of our legal system contribute to this government’s continuing efforts to support a court system that serves the needs of all Canberrans. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (4.40), in reply: I thank members for their contribution to this debate today and I am pleased to note that this bill has full support across the chamber. I am pleased to speak in support of the Courts and Other Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2018. It makes amendments to 16 acts. The bill is part of the government’s regular process of review and reform of justice legislation to ensure that the ACT has an accessible, fair and efficient justice system.

I would also like to thank all stakeholders who have participated in the consultation on and the preparation of this bill. The stakeholders have included the Director of Public Prosecutions, Legal Aid ACT, the Judicial Council, the Human Rights Commission, the Law Society, the Bar Association and, particularly in relation to this bill, the ACT courts and the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal, and I thank them for their collaboration in identifying and developing the amendments in this bill. As always, I want to place on record my appreciation for officers from the Justice and Community Safety Directorate for their work in the preparation of this bill as well.

This legislation will increase efficiency and remove red tape in court processes. It will help the courts and the tribunal to provide access to justice and it will support diversity and inclusion. The bill will increase efficiency in the ACT justice system and remove unnecessary red tape.

The amendment to the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1991 clarifies and simplifies the process for ACT courts to take evidence during audiovisual links or audio links, including overseas and interstate. This sensible change was recommended to the government by Justice Penfold in the case of R v Woutersz last year. It will support the efficient conduct of trials by leveraging proven technology to allow the ACT justice system to be globally connected.

The bill also includes amendments to simplify and remove red tape from the jury management process in the Juries Act 1967. As an example, to issue a fine to a person who unlawfully failed to attend court in accordance with a jury summons, a judge currently has to issue a warrant requiring the sheriff to apprehend the person and the


Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . PDF . . . . Video