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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2762 ..

Additionally parties may also request a longer time before a matter is set down for a hearing in order to obtain additional evidence, information and/or witnesses.

In the Coroner's Court the average time taken to finalise a matter is currently 6 months from the date of death, with the police taking up to 4 months from the date of death to file a brief of evidence. Complexity of matters in the Coroner's Court mean that, on occasion they may take a longer time to complete. For example a number of inquests being conducted by Coroner Somes, in relation to a number of people suffering from a disability that have died in care, have not been finalised. Six other matters are the subject of ongoing murder investigations, the oldest of which occurred in October 1998.

In relation to reserved decisions, generally most decisions are handed down by a Magistrate instantaneously at the hearing. However in dealing with the small proportion of decisions that are reserved, the average length from the time of a hearing to the delivery of a decision by a Magistrate is 3 months. After that time, outstanding decisions are reported to and are monitored by, the Chief Magistrate. There are occasions where matters have taken up to or over 12 months. However, those cases are not common and are mostly of a greater complexity, which contributes to the longer time taken to deliver the decision. Whilst no statistics are currently kept on the number of reserved decisions delivered or outstanding, the Chief Magistrate is currently carrying out an audit of outstanding matters and has undertaken to provide statistics.

(ii) Mental Health Tribunal

The Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994 provides stringent time limits for the processing and hearing of all applications lodged where the individual has been detained. These time limits require that all hospital applications are determined within 10 days of a person being detained involuntarily. Applications from the community i.e. family and friends, can take up to 10 weeks to hear depending on the availability of a Psychiatric Assessment Report or other required information

(iii) Residential Tenancy Tribunal Matters

The average time taken from application to determination is 21 days. There has been one matter, which took almost 12 months. This was due to the member seeking clarification on several occasions of issues relevant to the dispute. Members may adjourn matters to allow parties to provide further particulars. Other matters can be adjourned for decision.

(iv) Discrimination Tribunal

Matters in the Discrimination Tribunal are almost always complex, with many issues involved and Parties are often unrepresented. The average time taken to obtain a hearing for these matters is approximately 3 months. There are a number of outstanding matters and it is anticipated that they will be finalised in the next few months. As a general rule the Tribunal aims to finalise matters within 12 months.

(v) Guardianship Tribunal

Standard applications are determined within 2 months. Any delays can be attributed to time taken in obtaining medical information on the proposed represented person.

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