The Law Society of Western Australia is concerned by the Government’s announcement that Justice Ralph Simmonds will not be replaced when he retires in June 2016.
The Courts have had 21 judges for the past decade and with increases in population during this time, the number of judges required to ensure justice is not delayed is more not less.
Law Society President Elizabeth Needham said, “The courts require adequate resourcing to minimise the wait times to trial and improve access to justice.”
“Delays have a significant effect on all those involved. Depending on the type of trial, a long wait time can result in additional financial losses and costs in the case of civil trials or in criminal cases increase the emotional toll on the complainant, defendant, witnesses and families.” Mrs Needham said.
The 2014 Supreme Court Annual Review shows that the Court experienced a 27 percent increase in the volume of new work for criminal cases and cases on hand increased by 38 percent, from 126 in January 2014 to 174 in December 2014. Most of this growth has been in committals for trial, significantly increasing demands on judicial time.
The Law Society calls on the Government to replace not only Justice Simmonds but all retiring judges, magistrates and registrars in a timely matter to ensure there is no delay in appointments.
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