The Law Society of NSW has welcomed news of a $56.1 million funding boost, over four years, to appoint eight new magistrates and increase resources for prosecutors and Legal Aid, with Orange among the benefactors.
Law Society of NSW president Juliana Warner has previously called for additional magistrates for the state's Coroner's Court, Sydney's Downing Centre and local courts in Orange, Albury, Coffs Harbour, Illawarra and Wagga.
She praised Attorney General Mark Speakman for delivering the additional funding slated in the 2021-22 state budget, which will fund eight extra magistrates and increase vital resources for what she called one of the country's hardest-working jurisdictions.
"The Local Court of NSW has been called the 'frontline' of the state's justice system," Ms Warner said.
"The current workload of magistrates is ferocious - the Local Court deals with more than 94 per cent of all criminal prosecutions and almost all domestic and family violence matters in NSW.
"While our courts and tribunals have proved agile in the public health crisis of COVID-19, the need for additional resources of the 'human kind' to reduce the unacceptable delays in the courts did not disappear.
"The shortfall in magistrates in the Local Courts during the past three years placed an enormous strain on the workload of our judiciary and court staff, impacting on everyone who came into contact with our courts.
"The Attorney General's announcement brings in some much-needed resources to reduce the delays in the Local Court and is welcomed by the state's solicitors, especially those in our regions."
NSW Chief Magistrate Judge Graeme Henson said the additional magistrates will further improve the nation's most-efficient court, a sentiment Mr Speakman echoed.
"These additions to the Local Court bench will be invaluable for boosting the capacity of NSW's busiest jurisdiction, particularly in larger regional areas. Increased access to timely justice will benefit all court users and indeed the whole community," Judge Henson said.
"The extra magistrates will help to reduce the trauma of waiting for hearing dates and attending court on victims, witnesses and families. We're committed to easing that burden felt particularly by those involved in domestic violence cases," Mr Speakman said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
HAVE YOUR SAY
- Send us a letter to the editor using the form below