The Community Action Party believes that judicial independence, and a fair, efficient, and affordable system of courts and tribunals, is of fundamental importance to our democratic freedoms.
Although the ACT's legal system generally works well, long delays and high costs are a serious deterrent to some ACT residents seeking justice, and place a significant financial burden on ACT taxpayers.
The ACT maintains its own system of courts (the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and the Magistrates Court), a legislature (the Legislative Assembly) and tribunals (ACAT). The Party will work with the legal fraternity and the community to enhance our legal system.
The Party seeks greater transparency, and genuine consultation, in the process of appointing judges and magistrates. The Party will introduce a requirement for a statement of the background, experience and qualifications of a prospective appointee being laid before the Legislative Assembly.
The Party supports the administrative and financial independence of the ACT Courts to help maintain the integrity of the legal system.
The Party supports the creation of an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission in the ACT to hold our Government and its employees to the highest ethical and legal standards.
The Party supports the revision of the ACT Judicial Commission Act (1994). The ACT Legislative Assembly would be given new powers to review complaints against the judiciary, without necessarily resorting to a Judicial Commission and dismissing them, as proposed by ACT Law Society.
The Party recognises that the jury system, which dates back many centuries, is a cornerstone of our democratic freedoms. The safeguards that it offers must not be whittled away. To help ensure that it is properly understood and valued, the Party supports public education on the role of the jury and on the court system in general.
The Party supports monitoring of the operation of the court system, in collaboration with the judiciary and court officials, to minimise unnecessary delays in the legal process.
The Party supports a review of legal aid to identify existing inefficiencies and inequalities, and to recommend changes so that, within necessary budgetary constraints, funds are provided for worthy claims to be pursued by those lacking the financial means to do so.
The Party supports a review into the fairness of ACAT tribunals. New appointments should be subject to public scrutiny to ensure that only people of the highest calibre are appointed.
The Party will ensure that the ACT Government adheres to its own model litigant guidelines.
The Party believes that law reform is a matter of real community interest. The Party supports the creation of a body of voluntary community members to monitor the implementation of ACT law and changes in law elsewhere in Australia, with a view to recommending changes in the ACT where appropriate.
The Party supports a review of sentencing in the ACT Courts with a view to ensuring the consistency and appropriateness of penalties and will investigate the possibility of introducing a common standard of sentencing with other jurisdictions.
The Party believes that the ACT does not require its own Bill of Rights or Human Rights Office since the protection of such fundamental rights should be a Federal responsibility.