In 2016 Attorney-General Dr Vanessa Goodwin commissioned a review of the Magistrates Court to identify opportunities to improve efficiency and overall performance.
KPMG was appointed to undertake the review and their resulting report contains several key recommendations to ensure more timely completion of matters within the Court, including:
- Legislative changes to improve management of civil and criminal proceedings,
- Streamlining administrative and electronic processes, and
- Redefining the current organisational structure.
A new Magistrates Court Administrator has been appointed and will be supported by a fixed term General Manager to swiftly implement the required changes. In addition, Secretary of the Department of Justice Simon Overland is chairing a Steering Committee to progress the recommendations made within the review.
One of the first tasks will be to revise the current remand in custody procedures, including a focus on information sharing between the courts, the Tasmania Prison Service and Tasmania Police. This will address issues raised in both the review of the Magistrates Court as well as the recently released KPMG Sentence and Remand Order Processing Audit Report.
It is important to note that although the Government will be working to review and implement many of the report’s recommendations, in order to ensure all Tasmanians have appropriate access to justice we will not be pursuing the recommendation to consolidate the Burnie and Devonport courthouses.
The review of the Court was conducted in consultation with key stakeholders, including Magistrates Court staff, Community Corrections, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute, Tasmanian Law Society and Tasmanian Bar Association.