Laws to establish a new Court of Appeal in South Australia will be introduced to State Parliament today, on the back of stakeholder support for change.
In September, Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman announced plans to create the new court as a division of the Supreme Court with the aim of improving efficiency in the court system.
“Appeals are a fundamental part of the justice system, but they do take time and resources - a dedicated Court of Appeal will help reduce backlogs to ensure a more efficient, effective system,” Ms Chapman said.
“Our goal is to end up with consistent, high quality judgements and fewer appeals to the High Court, ultimately streamlining the appeals process.”
The Bill incorporates a number of recommendations from key justice stakeholders.
“Given the substantial structural change proposed to the justice system in South Australia, it has been critical to hear from those groups with firsthand knowledge and experience – and I’d like to thank those who provided their submissions,” Ms Chapman said.
“We have made a number of technical amendments and increased the minimum number of judicial officers presiding over cases from two to three based on feedback so in cases where there is a split decision the majority verdict will prevail.”
The proposed Court of Appeal will replace the current system where appeals are heard by Supreme Court judges sitting on rotation on the Full Court of the Supreme Court (referred to as the Court of Criminal Appeal for criminal matters).
“We’ve already seen this structure work successfully in other jurisdictions across the country,” Attorney-General Chapman said.
“This is a significant reform for South Australia, but it’s one that will help our courts work more efficiently.”
Creating a court system built to last is a key priority within South Australia’s Justice Agenda.