2022: Submission on the COVID-19 (Courts Safety) Legislation Bill
Victim Support supports the general intent of this bill to enable safe access to justice during the Covid-19 pandemic, however we strongly believe the bill needs refinement to be consistent with obligations under the Victims Rights Act and Victims Code.
Our courts are an essential service, and it is vital that all parties can access them and do so without undue concern about Covid-19 transmission. We wouldn’t want to see victims unwilling to attend court because of health and safety concerns, or any other party for that matter, as that could delay access to justice.
We have three main concerns with this bill:
1) that the proposed entry requirements to court could be barriers, rather than facilitators, of justice;
2) that victims’ interests must be considered if judiciary are given the power to make decisions “in the interests of justice”; and
3) that remote options be made more accessible to victims.
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