TIME LIMITS on migration cases in the federal courts were reintroduced last week by the Attorney General and the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone.
The Migration Amendment (Judicial Review) Bill 2004 is the first stage of the Australian Government’s response to the recommendations of the Migration Litigation Review, established to report on measures for the more efficient handling of migration cases.
Concern about the increased volume of migration cases, the related delays in court proceedings, and the low success rate of this sort of litigation led to the recent changes.
But Glenn Ferguson, executive member of the International Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, told Lawyers Weekly the Council feared that the time limits may prove to be counter-productive.
In January, the A-G was concerned that the High Court was overburdened by self-represented litigants. But these new time limits, Ferguson argued, “could mean that self-represented litigants might go straight to the High Court”. That this could make more work for the High Court was a concern of the Law Council.
Referring to a report conducted last year by Hilary Penfold for the government, Ferguson said that it has not been made public what the findings were. No-one had an opportunity to review these findings, he said.
“We think this should be realised and I think really our position is that the Senate should be called upon for the current amendments to be reviewed to the legal constitution committee,” Ferguson said. Concerned the Penfold findings had not been taken into account, Ferguson said they needed to be looked at in more detail.
In an alleged attempt to demonstrate the Government’s commitment to implement effective reforms to the migration litigation system, the measures proposed in the Bill will be implemented as soon as possible, Ruddock said.