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Junior counsel key to better system

Junior counsel key to better system

A new program aimed at bettering the conduct of criminal trials in Victoria has been launched by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA).Launched yesterday (20 April), the Talented Junior Counsel Program…

A new program aimed at bettering the conduct of criminal trials in Victoria has been launched by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA).

Launched yesterday (20 April), the Talented Junior Counsel Program developed by the VLA and supported by the Victorian Bar will require selected junior counsel to work alongside senior trial advocates in order to observe, learn and practice their craft.

"The program builds on the idea that the criminal justice system as a whole operates most effectively if well-trained and skilful counsel act for accused people and for the Crown," said Saul Holt, director criminal law services, VLA.

"By investing in the next generation of trial barristers, we hope to see earlier resolution of cases where appropriate, and if a trial is needed, that it is conducted in a focused and strategic way."

Holt added that the VLA strongly believes that justice delayed is justice denied.

"A critical component in avoiding unnecessary delays is to ensure that high-quality counsel appear for clients, with close to 80 per cent of indictable cases being legally aided," he said.

"The program forms part of our commitment to working in and on a system that delivers timely justice.

We see it as being in the interests of legally aided clients, their families and our funding sources."

The Hon. Marilyn Warren AC, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, launched the program following a keynote address by the Victorian Attorney-General, The Hon. Robert Clark MP, on working together to reduce delays in the criminal justice system.

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