Judicial reforms pass the Assembly

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SIMON Corbell has announced a raft of changes passed in the Legislative Assembly yesterday, he says they are intended to increase efficiency in the ACT’s judicial system and improve the community’s access to justice.

“The Courts Legislation Amendment Bill amends a number of different Acts and supplements other measures recently put in place to streamline operations,” Simon said.

“Some of the changes to increase process efficiency in the Supreme Court include making interlocutory orders binding on subsequent trial judges and requiring pre-trial disclosure of expert evidence.

“Appeals from pre-hearing orders made by the Master of the Supreme Court will now be heard by the Court of Appeal rather than a single judge.

“This recognises the authority of judicial officers hearing pre-trial matters and prevents matters being re-litigated without sufficient cause.”

The title of the Master of the Supreme Court has also been changed to Associate Judge.

The coroner will be able to establish a coronial investigation scene, and issue coronial investigation orders to police, enabling police officers to collect and preserve evidence at the scene in circumstances where powers under the Crimes Act are unavailable.

“Allowing coronial investigations to run smoothly ensures the deceased and their families are treated with dignity and respect,” Simon said.

Other amendments of the Coroner’s Act:

  • simplify the requirements for reporting fires to the Coroner’s Court;
  • clarify definitions applying to coronial matters, including the types of death that a coroner is required to investigate; and
  • introduce coronial scene investigation powers for police that promote further integrity of death scenes and dignity for the deceased and their families.

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