The appointment of new NSW Local Court Circuits in Grafton, in the Northern Rivers and Muswellbrook, in the Hunter region, will relieve pressure and assist in reducing backlogs in the state, says the president of the Law Society of NSW.
The Law Society supports the two new Local Court Circuits, president Elizabeth Espinosa said, noting that each will come with a new magistrate and will be “welcome news” for solicitors based in those respective regions.
“The changes mean that for the first time, both Grafton and Muswellbrook will each have a new magistrate based locally and presiding over a new Local Court circuit. This will help relieve the pressure on the local courts and assist in reducing the backlogs and lengthy delays which are currently impacting on victims of crime, witnesses and the accused,” she said.
“I know members of the legal profession in these areas will welcome the additional sitting days that will flow on from this announcement. They know only too well the additional stress that court delays can place on victims of crime, witnesses and the accused.”
The creation of a new Grafton Local Court Circuit will see Tweed Heads gain 60 sitting days per year, Ms Espinosa continued, while Lismore Local Court will sit for an extra 36 days and Grafton’s sittings will increase by 24 days.
Elsewhere, Casino, Kyogle, Maclean, Ballina, Byron Bay, Murwillumbah and Mullumbimby will each benefit from 12 extra sitting days a year, she noted, and in the Hunter, the new Local Court Circuit Cessnock Local Court will gain 60 additional sitting days per year, followed by 48 in each of Muswellbrook, Singleton and Toronto Local Courts.
Tamworth and Belmont will each benefit from 24 extra sitting days a year, while sittings at Scone and Kurri Kurri will remain the same.
“We welcome the news and will, on behalf of the state’s solicitors, continue to call on the NSW government to commit to additional local court resources in other regions around the state,” Ms Espinosa concluded.