The Law Society of NSW has welcomed Greg Smith SC's appointment to the position of Attorney-General and Minister for Justice while outlining its priorities for reform, which include a human rights charter.
Smith, the Member for Epping, was sworn in as the new Attorney-General and the Minister for Justice at Government House on the weekend.
Law Society president Stuart Westgarth said he is looking forward to working proactively with Smith on a range of law and justice issues.
"We've worked hard to generate constructive debate about law and justice policy in the lead-up to the election, we congratulate all parties on their participation in the discussion and we are looking forward to engaging with the Coalition government to progress their commitments," he said.
"The Law Society has developed a very good professional relationship with Mr Smith during the last year, and we are hopeful that legislative change will be preceded by meaningful consultation ... We look forward to a new era of legal reform in NSW."
The Law Society said its top priorities for reform under the new government would include a review of court funding and staffing levels across NSW, particularly in rural and regional areas, and working towards the introduction of a clear framework for human rights in the form of a charter of human rights and responsibilities in NSW.
Other priorities include addressing the growing backlog of DNA cases with increased and sustainable funding to improve DNA testing times and facilities; an assessment of funding of the Children's Court Clinic and the appointment of specialist Children's Court magistrates to the Children's Court rather than the general Local Court; a comprehensive and consultative review of the Bail Act 1978, including its impact on juveniles; a review of the issue of legal representation at tribunals under the Consumer, Trader & Tenancy Tribunal Act 2001 and Guardianship Act 1987 and as part of a wider overhaul of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979; and repealing the Torrens Assurance Levy.
Westgarth said the Law Society would also be lobbying for a rationalised legal model for personal injury compensation claims.
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