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
Property lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Property Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Impressive client list, national firm · Well-led and high-performing team
View details
Senior family lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Family Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Outstanding national firm · High-calibre family law team
View details
SA Law Society says budget allocation for courts a ‘stopgap solution’

SA Law Society says budget allocation for courts a ‘stopgap solution’

Budget allocation

The South Australian government has kicked in over $30 million for upgrades to the state’s courts in its latest budget; however, the Law Society says it will not address a “multitude” of other infrastructure problems.

The latest South Australian state budget has announced a number of investments in the state courts, with four key commitments including $31 million for the development of the higher courts precinct.

It follows a disappointing state budget last year, which was heavily criticised for failing to remedy “building rot” affecting some South Australian courts.

The Law Society felt that the situation had become so bad in 2016 that it initiated a survey into workplace health and safety risks linked to the state’s court building.

While the Chief Justice of South Australia, Chris Kourakis, welcomed the funding announcements in the 2017-18 budget last week, the state Law Society observed that the $31 million for court infrastructure was a “stopgap” measure at best.

Law Society president Tony Rossi said that the additional funding for the courts was a start but would not fix South Australia’s “crumbling courts” on its own.

“The society questions the wisdom of making repeated stopgap measures instead of fixing the problem once and for all,” Mr Rossi said.

“The government itself acknowledged that building a new courts precinct was an urgent issue two years ago, and it remains an urgent issue.”

Among its primary concerns about the poor state of the courts, the Law Society highlighted ongoing structural defects.

“There are serious structural defects in the Supreme Court building and they must be repaired as a matter of urgency,” Mr Rossi said.

“It is unclear whether the [$31 million] funding will be sufficient to address the numerous work health and safety issues in the Supreme Court Building or make the building accessible for people with a disability, which should be a minimum requirement,” he said.

The president also called on the government to explain why it had not acted sooner to remedy the court infrastructure crisis after billion-dollar profits went into the South Australian coffers from the sale of the Motor Accident Commission.

“We would welcome an explanation as to why, after the injection of more than $2.5 billion from the sale of the Motor Accident Commission, the issue of a new courts building remains unaddressed,” Mr Rossi said.

Other funding commitments from the state include money to bring a half-time Supreme Court judge’s position to a full-time judge on the bench; more funding for coronial inquests; and an $800,000 contribution to install digital audio equipment.

On behalf of State Courts Administration Council, chair Chief Justice Kourakis welcomed the allocation of additional sources to the courts.

In particular, he acknowledged funds to improve coronial resources which will allow inquests of substantial public importance to proceed; support to ensure the Supreme Court has up to 12 judges servicing full-time; and improve audio recording technology for the Sir Samuel Way Building.

“The additional funding provided to the states courts will significantly enhance their capacity to administer justice expeditiously,” Chief Justice Kourakis said.

“We welcome all these additional resources which will assist with the delivery of justice to the community of South Australia.”

Mr Rossi also supported a full-time bench of 12 judges in the SA Supreme Court, however pointed out that calls for the state to fund an additional two District Court judges have not been met.

“The District Court is the main trial court in the state,” Mr Rossi said.

“The budget documents themselves note serious backlogs in both the criminal and civil jurisdictions of the District Court.”

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

SA Law Society says budget allocation for courts a ‘stopgap solution’
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Warning
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
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 & ...