Law Society of NSW Election Platform: Proposals for a fairer, safer community
Bringing our court system into the twenty-first century and improving legal training for police are among the issues for which the Law Society of NSW will campaign in the upcoming state election.
President of the Law Society of NSW Joanne van der Plaat said the Election Platform published today provides political parties and candidates a comprehensive slate of proposals designed to strengthen the justice system.
“For too long, government investment in justice infrastructure and technology has lagged behind demand, especially in our busiest courts and the growth regions of our state,” Ms van der Plaat said.
“The Local Court of NSW and the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) are the backbone of the NSW justice system, handling more than 400,000 cases annually. Both are in dire need of increased funding, especially for upgraded technology to enable non-contested and procedural matters to be conducted online.”
The platform also calls for government to plan for justice in the same way as schools and hospitals in the state’s growth areas by making timely investment decisions to construct court facilities.
“The justice system is central to maintaining a stable civil society and adequate court facilities help deliver the resolution of disputes and criminal matters with fewer delays. Justice infrastructure investments in these areas, such as South-West Sydney, should be driven by anticipated demand,” Ms van der Plaat said.
The platform includes proposals to reduce Indigenous over-representation in the criminal justice system, increased funding for legal support services, clear frameworks for dealing with autonomous vehicles and e-scooters and better regulation to support economic recovery and resilience.
Law Society is also urging the incoming government to commit to improving legal training for the NSW Police Force. Ms van der Plaat acknowledged the grave responsibility police officers carry to keep the community safe by detecting and preventing crime.
“There’s no doubt enforcing the law is an onerous duty requiring police officers to put their lives on the line every working day. We owe our probationary constables more adequate legal training so they leave the Academy better equipped to ensure they discharge their responsibilities within the law,” Ms van der Plaat said.
“Better legal knowledge and improved cultural competence will help prevent or reduce complaints about police conduct, particularly when in contact with vulnerable people.”
The Law Society has provided its Election Platform to Government, Opposition, Greens and crossbench MPs and candidates. They are invited to respond to each of the proposals in the platform.