Law Society Alarmed over Delays in Tasmanian Courts

The Productivity Commission Report on Government services has revealed that Tasmania has the worst Court delays in the Country with many cases taking years to be heard. The Law Society of Tasmania is gravely concerned about the impact on the users of the Courts of these delays.

The Society’s President, Matthew Verney, said

 

  • I am aware that the Government maintains that the delays in the Supreme Court are the result of recent lengthy trials taking up Court time. However for many years the Supreme Court has been one judge short, operating with only 6 judges.  We are now starting to see the result of that.  On top of this, the resourcing of the Courts has been insufficient and that is no doubt contributing to the delays in the Courts.
  • Also, Justice Porter is shortly due to retire from the Court. Unless His Honour is replaced quickly, the delays in the Courts worsen, and the functioning of the Court will be significantly impeded with insufficient judges to hear the cases coming before it.

 

Mr Verney also said

  • Whilst the recent new appointments of Magistrates will help address the delays, the problem is also made worse by the cuts to Legal Aid funding over recent years. The effect of people being denied legal aid is that their cases often get adjourned, or take longer to be heard. These delays have a ripple effect through the justice system and we are now starting to see the effect of these cuts.

 

The Law Society maintains that fundamentally the Courts and legal aid are under resourced and this needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

 

Matthew Verney
President
0438 248 708

3 February 2016