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
WA courts counselled to woo the net

WA courts counselled to woo the net

Public access to justice could be improved through broadcasting court cases on the internet, Western Australian Chief Justice Wayne Martin has suggested.Speaking at the Australian Lawyers…

Public access to justice could be improved through broadcasting court cases on the internet, Western Australian Chief Justice Wayne Martin has suggested.

Speaking at the Australian Lawyers Alliance WA State Conference last weekend, Martin said "netcasting" had advantages and disadvantages.

"The advantage of netcasting, as opposed to using third party broadcasters, is that the court can control the netcast and, through means of a small delay and a 'kill' button, prevent any inappropriate material going out," he said.

"However, the disadvantage of netcasting - if it is to go live or nearly live - is that experience in other jurisdictions has shown that court proceedings are fundamentally boring ... and that, after initial enthusiasm has waned, netcasting audiences dwindle almost to the insignificant in a relatively short time."

An alternative that may be put into practice as early as the end of the year is video packages - a result of a partnership set up between the University of Western Australia and the WA Supreme Court.

Law students will produce edited packages from criminal and civil trials which will be available on the university and court's websites, Martin said.

"This is an important means through which practical information can be provided to people who are likely to become engaged in the court process.

"We will also continue our current practices under which sentencing remarks are posted on the internet, and audio feeds of those remarks made available to the media on request, and which permit broadcasting of parts of proceedings in which there is great public interest," he said.

Martin expressed concerns that Australians might have a "Rolls Royce of justice systems".

"It seems to me that, in some respects, our justice system is analogous to this Rolls Royce, in that many Australians simply lack the financial means, knowledge and endurance to participate fully in its processes," he said.

"While [many Australians] can take some comfort that they live in a country which has such a justice system, to [many] it is inaccessible and, to that extent, of limited relevance."

Martin also suggested a number of changes to courtroom procedures. He said the current court process needed to be less adversarial and more collegiate, with a greater role for judicial activism in identifying issues.

In commercial cases, the use of oral evidence in particular, "adds very little to the fact finding process" and could extend a trial, Martin said.

Martin also said that, while the suggestion was controversial, there could be scope to place an obligation of disclosure on defence lawyers to identify real issues involved in a case.

Another concern he expressed was control over how funds were allocated in the court system. He said control should be handed over to the judiciary to decide where money was spent, rather than decisions being made by officials who reported to the Attorney-General. He said the "segregation of responsibility from authority" resulted in limited public resources being "fundamentally inefficient and wasteful".

- Sarah Sharples

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

WA courts counselled to woo the net
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 & ...