Page 1114 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 20 March 2013

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improve the operation of the court. But each measure must be considered and it must be demonstrably needed, and that is the issue that we are debating today.

On 4 February this year, I announced the appointment of John Nield as an acting judge of the ACT Supreme Court to assist the court whilst outstanding reserved judgements are being finalised. This appointment will also ensure that hearings and other court matters are not unnecessarily delayed.

On that score, there is no reason to think that cases in the Supreme Court have blown out. A criticism that has been levelled at the government is that matters are being listed for 2014. There are many reasons why a particular matter may have been listed for 2014, including, at least in some instances, that parties have requested it. Listing matters for 2014 does not indicate a blowout of the list in and of itself. Under the docket system, cases are only set down when they are ready to be dealt with. A case where injuries are yet to stabilise may not be capable of being set down for hearing for many years. In relation to those cases which are presently ready to be set down, there are certainly gaps in the lists for this year, meaning that there are still time slots available for the hearing of matters this year.

It is true that some matters remain in the list for 2014 as a legacy from the pre-docket allocation system, that is, they were listed before the introduction of the docket. As docketing progresses, these matters may well be bought forward. That will be contingent on a number of factors, including the readiness of the parties. With case management by the judges through the new docket system, some matters listed in 2013 and 2014 may resolve early or the length of trials may be shortened, which will clear the list for new matters to be listed.

As you can see, the government has put forward a comprehensive program to assist the court with the issue of delay. We take the issue of delay in the court very seriously, and we will continue to work with the court on these issues.

Mr Assistant Speaker, I now move the amendment I have circulated in my name.

Mr Seselja: Does he need leave?

MR CORBELL: Not for an amendment.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Doszpot): The amendment has been circulated. Mr Seselja, do you have any further point to make on that?

Mr Seselja: Sorry, it is just that Mr Corbell had finished his speech. The ordinary practice is that someone needs leave if they move an amendment post speaking.

MR CORBELL: I did it before I sat down.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Mr Corbell was still standing when he said, “Mr Assistant Speaker.” So I will accept it on that basis.

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