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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2766 ..


MR HUMPHRIES (Treasurer, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Community Safety) (10.41): Mr Speaker, I present the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 1999 includes several amendments that might be thought of as technical but which I have asked to be particularly extracted from the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill because members might have a particular interest in these amendments.

The first amendment updates the review powers of the Coroners Act which deal with the powers of the Supreme Court to order an inquest or an inquiry into a death or fire, or quash or order a fresh inquest or inquiry into the cause of a death or fire or disaster. This brings the law into conformity with other States by providing that either the Attorney-General or any other person may make an application under sections 92 and 93 of the Act. A person will now be able to make an application independently of the Attorney-General under these provisions, although the Attorney-General is required to be served with notice of and may appear at the hearing of the application.

The second amendment allows the Government Solicitor to act for any body corporate or trust which is at least 50 per cent beneficially owned or controlled by territory government owned corporations and former public employees. This amendment will permit the Territory to protect its interests where the Territory may be liable for damages.

The third amendment is an exception to the confidentiality of jury deliberations. It permits a juror to disclose protected information to a legal practitioner for the purpose of obtaining advice where the jury deliberations are in issue or where information is sought by a legal practitioner if a juror becomes involved in court proceedings, a criminal investigation or a royal commission.

The fourth amendment deals with a number of tribunals and the lower courts to clarify and standardise the application of fees and charges in these jurisdictions. The new scheme is based on the existing structure of Part 13A of the Magistrates Court Act, which has been operating successfully for many years in the Magistrates Court. The amendment provides for internal review rules in relation to decisions made.

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