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Key developments

  • Inquiry into the Jury Amendment Bill 2023
  • Federal Pre-Budget Submissions 2024-25
  • Sustainable Finance Strategy
  • Review of NSW’s Forced Marriage Protections
  • Citizenship Cessation Determinations
  • Modern Slavery Amendment (Australian Anti-Slavery Commissioner) Bill 2023
  • Proposed framework for broader enforcement powers under the Electronic Conveyancing National Law
  • Regulating digital asset platforms
  • Merger reform
  • NSW Reconstruction Authority Act 2022 (NSW)
  • Inquiry into the Administrative Review Tribunal Bill 2023 and the Administrative Review Tribunal (Consequential and Transitional Provisions No.1) Bill 2023

Inquiry into the Jury Amendment Bill 2023

The Criminal Law Committee contributed to a submission to the NSW Legislative Council’s Portfolio Committee No. 5 – Justice and Communities (‘Committee’) to be considered as part of the Parliamentary inquiry into the Jury Amendment Bill 2023 (‘Bill’).

The submission set out the Law Society’s support for most of the amendments proposed in the Bill and offered brief comments for the Committee to consider in examining the implications of certain amendments. The submission suggested consideration of affording Courts greater discretion to empanel additional jurors than what is currently enabled by the proposed Bill. The submission also outlined the Law Society’s opposition to reducing the minimum time a jury must deliberate before returning a majority verdict from eight hours to four hours. The submission stated that in the Law Society’s view there is no evidence that warrants such a change, and noted majority verdicts should remain an exceptional, rather than routine, outcome of a jury trial.

Representatives of the Law Society appeared before the inquiry on 31 January.

Federal Pre-Budget Submissions 2024-25

The Indigenous Issues, Human Rights, Public Law, Family Law, Employment Law, Privacy and Data Law and Rural Issues Committees contributed to a submission to the Law Council for inclusion into a Law Council submission to Treasury. Our submission raised a number of issues canvassed in prior submissions, including in previous pre-budget submissions.

Three new issues were raised for consideration:

  • adequate healthcare for incarcerated people;
  • resourcing for the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme; and
  • resourcing the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (in particular the recommendations in respect of disability and the justice system).

We also raised issues where we have made prior submissions that adequate funding will be critical for the success of particular Government initiatives, including where the Government is currently in the process of developing the relevant bodies. These include a federal judicial commission, the new Administrative Review Tribunal and re-established Administrative Review Council, and a whistleblower protection authority.

Our submission was not intended to cover all the relevant budgetary issues, but rather to highlight issues of particular concern to the Law Society’s committees.

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