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Investing in Tasmania’s Justice system to address Court backlogs

26 August 2021

Elise Archer MP

Attorney General

Minister for Justice

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is securing Tasmania’s future by delivering an efficient and effective criminal and civil justice system for all Tasmanians.

That’s why we are determined to address the delays to finalising proceedings in the criminal court system, particularly due to the impact of COVID-19.

This year’s State Budget includes funding to support another additional Magistrate to significantly address existing demand pressures and reduce the criminal court backlog, by hearing and finalising more cases.

The 2021-22 Tasmanian Budget commits $956,000 per year towards the appointment of the additional Magistrate, the second additional magistrate appointment since 2019 – following the appointment of Magistrate Hartnett in June 2020. This will bring the total number of permanent magistrates to 17.

The new Magistrate will be based in Hobart, where the majority of the caseload is located, but will also be required to travel state-wide, ensuring that the caseload across Tasmania is managed efficiently.

As part of this new commitment, we are also investing in administrative support measures and court security.

Additionally, we are investing $2.6 million over the next two years to extend the appointment of the three Acting Judges.  This follows on from our investment of $1.1 million per year announced in 2019-20 towards the appointment of the 7th Supreme Court Judge, which will be announced in the near future following the Judicial Protocol.

We are providing our courts with the resources they need by investing more than $35 million over the next four years into the State’s justice system, appointing more judges and magistrates, and modernising court buildings.

We will also continue to invest in alternative dispute resolution, the judiciary and the courts, and reform our tribunals with the operations of the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal due to formally commence later this year.

This investment is also supported by our substantial commitment to the legal assistance sector, including the community legal sector and Tasmania Legal Aid, to ensure they have the resources needed to support access to legal services.

Importantly, this Budget includes the additional $2.2 million per annum committed by the Government during the recent State Election which will allow the legal assistance sector to continue to provide free or low-cost legal services to Tasmanians who need it.

We also continue to strongly fund the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to ensure that our hard-working prosecutors are well-resourced.

This is a Budget that supports the provision of an efficient and effective court and justice system that meets the community’s expectations, and importantly, delivers on our clear commitment to secure Tasmania’s future.