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Local courts over-worked and under-resourced
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Local courts over-worked and under-resourced

The New South Wales Bar Association has put out a call to the government to take action on providing local courts with sufficient resources for their ever-increasing workload.

The NSW Bar Association president Jane Needham SC said: “If the local courts are not properly resourced, court sittings will be adversely affected, with flow-on effects for the administration of justice as a whole in this state.”

Ms Needham added: “At a time where the government is increasing police resources and the court’s criminal caseload is growing rapidly, there is a pressing need to increase the number of magistrates in the Local Court.” 

Referring to comments made by the Chief Magistrate in the 2014 Local Court Annual Review, Ms Needham highlighted that while the court’s criminal caseload has increased by 14,000 in the past year, six magistrates’ positions have been cut since 2013, with the prospect of further reductions to come.

While the Local Court is one of the busiest jurisdictions in the Common Law world, reductions in judicial resources means that the court faces the prospect of having to make cuts to services, particularly in rural areas, Ms Needham said.

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