The Tasmanian Liberal Government is continuing to provide access to an effective and efficient justice system for all Tasmanians.

The Magistrates Court Annual Report for 2020-21, tabled in Parliament today, confirms the Court has continued to provide high levels of service and access to justice to the community despite the impacts of COVID-19.

Pleasingly, the backlog for the adult criminal caseload has decreased by 15 per cent in 2020-21, assisted by the appointment of an additional, permanent magistrate in Hobart, namely Magistrate Jackie Hartnett, on 29 June 2020.

This complements the reforms I have prioritised in recent years to reduce criminal court backlogs, including the Magistrates Court (Criminal and General Division) reform package and, more recently, the ‘Court Backlog Act.’

We are also progressing new magistrates to further reduce the criminal court backlog, with Magistrate Marica Duvnjak appointed this week as a permanent, full-time Magistrate in Hobart, commencing on 17 January 2022, with expressions of interest now being sought for two permanent, full-time Magistrates for Tasmania – one of which is another additional Magistrate.

These appointments will mean the Magistrates Court will have 17 permanent, full-time Magistrates, which is a record number for Tasmania, and includes a brand-new position to be based in Launceston or Devonport, with regular travel between the two locations.

The other will be based in the North-West to replace former Magistrate Tamara Jago SC who has been appointed the seventh permanent Supreme Court Judge (the first time since 1995).

For the first time, this will also result in a balance in the number of Magistrates in the South and the North/North-West.

Our Government remains committed to ensuring that all Tasmanians have access to an efficient and effective criminal and civil justice system in which court proceedings are able to be finalised in a timely manner.

Elise Archer, Attorney-General