The Law Society of NSW has called for increased resources for courts and the justice system as part of the key issues that all political parties need to address after the March 2019 state election.
Expanding drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities and the Drug Court in rural, remote and regional areas, increased funding for Legal Aid, a new courthouse in Macarthur, and more early intervention services for indigenous justice are just some of the key law and order issues identified by the Law Society.
Reducing the unacceptably high NSW prison population and easing the pressure on the courts and justice system are other key areas of concern.
The issues are detailed in the NSW Law Society's 2019 State Election Platform, which was launched in Sydney today by NSW Law Society President, Dough Humpreys.
"The Law Society is the voice of the solicitor arm of the legal profession, representing the interests of the state's 35,000 solicitors," Mr Humphreys said.
"We encourage debate and actively drive law reform issues through policy submissions and open dialogue with governments, parliamentary bodies, the courts and other stakeholders in the justice system which makes us a major player in law reform and policy debates."
"Our state's solicitors work with a diverse range of people from the community on a daily basis, which puts them in a unique position to identify the areas of our legal system with room for improvement and in turn help the Law Society identify the key issues for law reform in NSW."
The NSW Law Society is asking major political parties to address the following key issues:
Better resources for the courts and the justice system, particularly in rural areas:
- Establishing residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities & expansion of the Drug Court in country New South Wales
- Increase in legal aid funding for private practitioners
- Committing adequate funding to the legal assistance sector
- A new court facility in the Macarthur region
- Committing to long term funding solutions for court services in rural, regional and remote areas of NSW.
Promoting investment and business innovation
- Reforming payroll tax
- Fostering digital innovation
- Promotion of Sydney as a professional services hub in the Asia-Pacific
- Ensuring that planning controls are operating efficiently
- Reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens
Upholding the rule of law
- Promoting and protecting privacy and the use of data
- Protecting the rights of the injured
- Promoting practical ways to report and address elder abuse
- Protecting the security of e-conveyancing
- A Human Rights Act for NSW
Reducing the incarceration rate to ease the pressure on the justice system
- Diversion from the criminal justice system
- Increasing the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to at least 12
- Increasing access to education for children
- Protecting the rights of child defendants
- Early intervention services and justice reinvestment strategies
- Justice targets
- Care and protection targets
- Reducing indigenous incarceration
- Meaningful engagement with Aboriginal peoples in NSW
- Empowerment of Aboriginal peoples in NSW