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
Witnesses blamed for court backlog

Witnesses blamed for court backlog

A BRISBANE criminal defence lawyer has called for judges to strike out cases where the Crown is not ready to proceed due to the unavailability of witnesses. Jim Coburn of national criminal…

A BRISBANE criminal defence lawyer has called for judges to strike out cases where the Crown is not ready to proceed due to the unavailability of witnesses.

Jim Coburn of national criminal defence firm Ryan and Bosscher Lawyers says witnesses, particularly police witnesses, are holding up the court system, resulting in an increasing backlog of cases.

“The common experience I have in court, and especially the Magistrates Court, is adjournments are being sought by the prosecution in relation to arresting officers or significant witnesses due to fact they are overseas, or not at work for some other excuse which shows they aren’t prepared to be inconvenienced by coming to court,” Coburn says.

Coburn suggests that the availability of witnesses should be considered when matters are listed for hearing, to help ensure witnesses turn up to court.

“When we list matters for hearing it’s done without witness availability details and when we get to trial we are then told the witness has other plans that can’t be avoided. If we have an initial indication from them as to when they are available we could get a court listing from there,” Coburn says.

“It really should be a case of you’re ready on the day or suffer the consequences and that should apply across the board.”

Queensland’s courts have been attracting media scrutiny recently due to a large backlog of cases. Recent publicity has focussed on the need for more judicial officers. Coburn agrees that more judges and magistrates should be appointed in the particular areas of the law where cases are getting held up.

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

Witnesses blamed for court backlog
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 & ...