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Department of Justice

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