NSW Bar Association backs coronial jurisdiction reform

The reform would bolster the Coroners Court in making recommendations to limit injury and death

NSW Bar Association backs coronial jurisdiction reform

The NSW Bar Association expressed its support for reform to the coronial jurisdiction.

According to President Dr. Ruth Higgins SC, such reform was needed to augment the capacity of the Coroners Court to suggest systemic changes preventing future injuries and deaths. Thus, the organisation endorsed the publication of the Report on the Statutory Review of the Coroners Act 2009 (NSW).

“The NSW Government should take this opportunity to modernise and enhance the coronial jurisdiction and allocate sufficient resources in the 2024/25 NSW Budget to facilitate a standalone Coroners Court”, Higgins said. “A properly-resourced, standalone Coroners Court will deliver more expertise, better outcomes, and additional support for grieving families. It will have a greater capacity to ensure that families of a deceased person understand why a death has occurred, and will increase the prospect of avoiding future deaths”.

Higgins also highlighted the need to acknowledge the unique circumstances and needs of First Nations people, who are disproportionately affected by custodial deaths.

“[Coronial reform] should also recognise that NSW is the only jurisdiction in Australia which relies on regional magistrates and court registrars to undertake coronial responsibilities”, she said.

The Bar Association is set to conduct a detailed review of the report’s 45 recommendations.

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