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Community consultation

Magistrates Court (Criminal and General Division) Project

Magistrates Court (Criminal and General Division) Project

The Government is seeking your feedback on four new Bills that have been developed to replace the Justices Act 1959.

The Bills are scheduled for tabling in late May 2017. There will be at least 12 months between Royal Assent and proclamation to allow for all the necessary administrative changes to be made and for necessary Rules and Regulations to be completed.

The Bills are as follows:

Magistrates Court (Criminal and General Division) Bill 2017

This Bill establishes the “high level” framework for the criminal and general jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court.

In addition to restating essential features of the Justices Act, this Bill provides legislative foundation for a number of initiatives, procedural changes and changes to the law, including the following:

  • The Bill no longer refers to “justices” but rather to a “Magistrate”, a “bench justice” or an “authorised justice”, as the case requires.  Each of those persons has expressly defined powers and is capable of constituting the “Court” in different circumstances.
  • The Bill provides that summary proceedings will commence by lodgement of a “court attendance notice” instead of a “charge sheet” or “complaint”. This will consolidate procedures by allowing criminal prosecutions to commence by way of a single originating document.  This model has worked successfully in New South Wales.
  • The Bill includes a new framework for disclosure of prosecution evidence in summary offences.  This will ensure that a defendant receives free disclosure of the case against them at the earliest opportunity.  The disclosure provisions for indictable offences remain unchanged as they were agreed on by stakeholders and have been operating successfully since commencement in 2009.
  • The Bill includes an obligation on a defendant to provide notice of an alibi and admissible opinion evidence similar to the requirements currently in the Criminal Code Act 1924.
  • The Bill gives a specific statutory basis to case management procedures and sentence indication powers designed to promote the just and efficient determination of matters.
  • The Bill increases the property value threshold for minor property crimes and electable property offences to $50,000.
  • The Bill includes a detailed scheme for electing to have offences dealt with either by the Magistrates Court or the Supreme Court.
  • The Bill makes express provision for a defendant to attend court by audio or video link.
  • The Bill includes a prohibition on the publication of any evidence, an account of, or any information connected with the preliminary proceedings without the leave of the Court.

Download the Magistrates Court (Criminal and General Division) Bill 2017 (pdf, 1.3 MB)

Magistrates Court (Criminal and General Division) Rules are being developed to provide for electronic filing of applications, service of process and other similar procedural matters. The Rules will commence when the relevant legislation commences.

Restraint Orders Bill 2017

This Bill replaces Part XA of the Justices Act 1959. While the basic principles behind that Part are retained, the new Bill up-dates provisions and improves the operation and availability of restraint orders for the protection of individuals in the community.

Restraint Order Rules are being developed to provide for electronic filing of applications, service of process and other similar procedural matters. The Rules will commence when the relevant legislation commences.

Download the Restraint Orders Bill 2017 (pdf, 499.5 KB)

Justices of the Peace Bill 2017

This Bill replaces Part II of the Justices Act 1959. Part III Extra-Territorial Justices is not being replaced as section 5 of the Oaths Act 2001 provides for attestation by justice in other jurisdictions.

The Bill is far more comprehensive than the current provisions. It sets out eligibility criteria and the duties of a Justice of the Peace to undergo specified training, be reasonably available and active, comply with the code of conduct and inform the Secretary of any relevant change in his or her personal circumstances. The Bill also contains specific provisions on the suspension or removal from office of a Justice of the Peace.

The Bill provides that if a current Justice of the Peace is eligible and notifies the Secretary in writing that he or she wishes to continue in the office then he or she will be taken to have been appointed as a Justice of the Peace under the new legislation.

Download the Justices of the Peace Bill 2017 (pdf, 443.9 KB)

Magistrates Court (Criminal and General Division – Consequential Amendments) Bill 2017

This Bill contains the major amendments to other legislation consequential on the replacement of the Court of Petty Sessions by the Magistrates Court (Criminal and General) Division. The following Acts are amended:

  • Bail Act
  • Consumer Affairs Act
  • Coroners Act
  • Family Violence Act
  • Magistrates Court Act 1984
  • Supreme Court Civil Procedure Act

Download the Magistrates Court (Criminal and General Division – Consequential Amendments) Bill 2017 (pdf, 375.6 KB)


Comment period

Please send your comments on the Bill to the Department of Justice by 31 March 2017.

Email

Legislation.Development@justice.tas.gov.au

Mail

Department of Justice
Office of Strategic Legislation and Policy
GPO Box 825
Hobart TAS 7001

Criminal Code Amendment (Sexual Assault) Bill 2017

Criminal Code Amendment (Sexual Assault) Bill 2017

The Government is seeking your feedback on a draft Bill to amend the Criminal Code Act 1924.

The draft Bill introduces amendments to modernise the law of rape in Tasmania.

The draft Bill extends the crime of rape to include sexual penetration by inanimate objects as well as other body parts.

Download the Criminal Code Amendment (Sexual Assault) Bill 2017 (pdf, 198.7 KB)

Comment period

Please send your comments on the Bill to the Department of Justice by Friday 3rd February 2017.

Email

Legislation.Development@justice.tas.gov.au

Mail

Department of Justice
Office of Strategic Legislation and Policy
GPO Box 825
Hobart TAS 7001

Court Security Bill 2016

Court Security Bill 2016

The Government is seeking your feedback on the Court Security Bill 2016 (the Bill).

This Bill will replace the Admission to Courts Act 1916 and associated regulations which are limited and out-dated.  

The Bill is largely a consolidation of existing legislative provisions, as well as practice and provisions from interstate. The current legislation applies only to the courts, whilst the new legislation will extend to Tribunals as well. Some tribunals currently have little or no legislated powers to manage their premises or empower security personnel to take appropriate actions.

The key features of the Bill are as follows:

  • it provides for the appointment of security officers and security managers;
  • it sets out the powers and functions of security officers and security managers which include:
    • giving reasonable directions to the public entering or in the court premises;
    • requesting names and proof of identity of a person entering court premises;
    • removing a person from court premises; and
    • arresting a person without a warrant and use of reasonable force to do so.
  • it confirms that members of the public have a right, subject to certain qualifications, to enter and remain in areas of court/tribunal premises that are open to the public;
  • it provides for the closure of court or tribunal premises for security reasons;
  • it restricts the use of electronic and recording devices in court or tribunal premises; and
  • it creates various offences to enforce the security of courts and tribunals.

This Bill will confirm the ability of journalists and Australian legal practitioners to, for example, access their phone or tablet to check or send messages or access the internet to look up information in both the Supreme and Magistrates courts. However, they will not be able to record the proceedings on such a device.  

The Bill also provides a power for a judicial officer to expressly permit the use of an electronic or recording device (for example if approached by a citizen journalist) and to place restrictions on this use. This use must not be comprised of recording or transmitting the proceedings.

The Bill provides that the legislation does not apply at a care or treatment facility unless the person responsible for the management of the facility has agreed to it applying. This is to cover situations where proceedings are conducted at premises other than those of the court or tribunal, for example where a Mental Health Tribunal hearing is held at a secure mental health facility.

The Bill will bring Tasmania into line with the majority of Australian jurisdictions who already have similar provisions in place. It will provide clarity and certainty to those wishing to enter court premises and court security staff.

Download the Court Security Bill 2016 (pdf, 444.7 KB)

Comment period

Please send your comments on the Bill to the Department of Justice by Friday 10 February 2017.

Email

Legislation.Development@justice.tas.gov.au

Mail

Department of Justice
Office of Strategic Legislation and Policy
GPO Box 825
Hobart TAS 7001

Quad Bike Safety Taskforce

Quad Bike Safety

The Government is seeking your feedback on the Issues Paper Quad Bike Safety in Tasmania.

Issues paper

The paper identified the following key areas for potential action to improve quad bike safety in Tasmania;

  • Increasing rider awareness of risks
  • Improving rider skills
  • Greater rider protection
  • Government-led action

Download paper: Quad Bike Safety in Tasmania (pdf, 507.4 KB)

Comment period

Please send your comments to the Department of Justice by Tuesday 28 February 2017. Email submissions are preferred.

Submissions seeking to be treated as confidential should be clearly marked as ‘confidential’.

Submissions will be considered by the Taskforce in the development of a statewide quad bike safety plan.

Email

cbosinfo@justice.tas.gov.au

Mail

Consumer, Building and Occupational Services
PO Box 56
Rosny Park TAS 7018

Family violence reforms

Family violence reforms

The Government is seeking your feedback on the Consultation Paper Family Violence: Strengthening Our Legal Responses.

Consultation paper

The Consultation Paper Family Violence: Strengthening Our Legal Responses invites your feedback on seven issues identified for discussion as options to strengthen legislative frameworks to hold perpetrators of family violence to account and to improve the safety of victims of family violence.

The issues for consideration include:

  • breaches of protection orders by protected persons
  • mandatory reporting of family violence
  • definition of ‘family relationship’
  • law of self-defence in the context of family violence
  • effects of tendering no evidence in family violence cases
  • persistent contraventions of family violence order - perpetrator declarations
  • consequences of a persistent perpetrator of family violence declaration.

Download the Consultation Paper Family Violence: Strengthening Our Legal Responses (pdf, 984.1 KB)

Comment period

Please send your comments to the Department of Justice on the:

  • Consultation Paper by Monday 6 February 2017

All submissions will be treated in strict confidence.

Email

legislation.development@justice.tas.gov.au

Mail

Department of Justice

Office of Strategic Legislation and Policy

GPO Box 825

Hobart TAS 7001

Inactive consultations

Inactive consultations


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