find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Newcastle courts embroiled in national resources dispute

Newcastle courts embroiled in national resources dispute

WHILE THE Law Society of Newcastle has labelled the amount of court resources for the region appalling, the New South Wales Attorney-General’s Department pointed to many improvements already…

WHILE THE Law Society of Newcastle has labelled the amount of court resources for the region appalling, the New South Wales Attorney-General’s Department pointed to many improvements already undertaken.

To address what she believes is a shortfall in the current level of funding, Newcastle president Catherine Henry said a new court complex was required, consisting of a joint federal/state facility.

“The key point that we wish to communicate at the opening of Law Term is the fact that our court resources in Newcastle are appalling. They are limited to the extreme,” Henry told Lawyers Weekly.

The problem facing Newcastle stems from many sources, both state and federal, Henry said. This is why the Law Society is seeking a solution in the form of a combined federal and state court complex.

“We are agitating for a joint federal/state facility which would allow us to have proper infrastructure for federal cases, such as Family Court and Federal Magistrates Court work, but also which would allow the state courts and the state tribunals to have adequate resources,” Henry said.

Although NSW A-G Bob Debussaid the feasibility of a joint facility was currently being discussed with the Federal A-G’s Department, it would “obviously … be a major project and no decision will be made until the idea has been properly assessed”.

But in regard to court resources, Debus said a lot has already been done for rural and regional NSW.

“The Government is overseeing the largest ever investment in court and justice agency infrastructure in the history of NSW. The Hunter will be a major beneficiary of this program,” he said.

More specifically, Debus said Newcastle courts have already received funding for recent improvements, as well as a $9.6 million purpose-built Children’s Court in Broadmeadow.

“More than $1 million has been spent upgrading Newcastle courthouse in the last few years. Airport style x-ray screening facilities have been installed,” he said. “Fire safety and air conditioning systems have also been upgraded.”

Henry said the future of the Family Court was in doubt, with no confirmation on a new location following the end of its lease next year.

“The Family Court [has] never had a permanent home in Newcastle unlike other regional centres,” she said. Yet under the current inadequate system “Family Court judges and federal magistrates [do] not having space in their own building to conduct their work, and [have] to go across the road to the state courts to hear state cases”.

For Henry, a major frustration was that “a lot of work that is generated in Newcastle can’t be heard in Newcastle, because of the inadequate court facilities”.

“That work has to go to Sydney; that’s bad for Newcastle [and] it’s more costly for clients who have to pay for their lawyers to travel down to Sydney.”

Philip Ruddock acknowledged that the lease on the Family Court building was not due to expire until 2008. But in terms of the resources available to Newcastle’s federal courts, he said “the Government is looking at the long term needs of the region and working out how resources are best allocated”.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Newcastle courts embroiled in national resources dispute
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...