27 September 2023

Former judge to lead Justices Act review

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A retired judge is to lead the first comprehensive review of the Justices Act 1886 which hasn’t been examined in more than a century.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman announced that retired District Court Judge, Michael Shanahan (pictured) had been appointed to lead the historic review.

“The Justices Act 1886 is used every day in Queensland and is fundamental to our criminal justice system,” Ms Fentiman said.

“This review is well overdue,” she said.

“It’s been 135 years since the Act was introduced in the Queensland Parliament and it’s crucial our justice system can continue to operate effectively for Queenslanders now and into the future.”

Ms Fentiman said while the Justices Act had been amended and added to over the years, it had not been comprehensively reviewed, and many of its provisions carried the form and style of another era.

“I am delighted that retired District Court Judge and former President of the Children’s Court of Queensland, Michael Shanahan, has agreed to conduct this important review,” she said.

“The review would involve widespread consultation, including with the Queensland judiciary, the Chief Magistrate and courts’ staff, prosecution Agencies, legal stakeholders and the community generally.”

The Attorney-General said the Government was committed to introducing new Magistrates Court criminal procedure legislation that supported a modern, fair and timely criminal justice system before the end of its current term.

“The reviewer is tasked with making recommendations to guide preparation of this draft legislation,” Ms Fentiman said.

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