Local Court’s shift to therapeutic justice a potential game changer


Local Court’s shift to therapeutic justice a potential game changer

The Law Society of NSW has welcomed the shift towards therapeutic justice identified by the Local Court of NSW as a priority of its newly published strategy for Australia’s ‘busiest court’.

This shift in focus is also consistent with the Law Society President Cassandra Banks’ Priority for 2023 to ‘advocate for increased diversion for vulnerable cohorts in the criminal justice system’ and elements of the Law Society’s 2023 Election Platform.

The Local Court of NSW Strategic Plan 2023-26 also commits to supporting programs that contribute to ‘closing the gap’. The Law Society has long advocated that legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are most effectively delivered as part of a suite of therapeutic and other services.

This includes our consistent support for expanding Circle Sentencing, the Youth Koori Court and the Walama List, along with other diversionary programs like the Drug Court and the Magistrates Referral Into Treatment (known as MERIT) program.

Likewise, the Law Society supports the inclusion of improved physical and digital infrastructure for the Local Court, including increased access to Audio Visual Link technology to take advantage of the longer-term benefits of measures introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The benefits of these measures were discussed in the Law Society’s report, A fair post-COVID justice system, published in January last year. The report resulted from feedback from 1,500 solicitor members of the Law Society about how COVID related justice measures affected their law practices.

The Law Society, informed by the work of its expert Policy and Practice Committees, looks forward to continuing to work with the Local Court on improving efficiency and access to justice in this busy jurisdiction.

Damien Smith | Director, Media and Public Relations
The Law Society of New South Wales

M: +61 417 788 947 | E: Damien.Smith@lawsociety.com.au