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Thursday, 31 October 1974
Page: 2198

Senator Greenwood asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice:

(1)   Has the Attorney-General proceeded with his plan, announced in February 1973, to have some Federal Courts sitting day and night.

(2)   Which Federal Courts (a) have sat at night and (b) are currently sitting at night.

(3)   On how many occasions have Court sittings been extended to enable sittings at night.

(4)   For what length of time have the sittings been extended.

(5)   How many extra cases have been dealt with by Courts sitting such extra hours.

(6)   What additional costs have been incurred by the extra sittings.

Senator Murphy - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) Since the middle of August 1973 parties involved in proceedings in the Court of Petty Sessions at Canberra have been able at their option to have the proceedings heard at night.

(   3 ) The Court has sat at night on 56 occasions to the end of September 1974.

(4)   The Court's night sitting hours are between 6.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m.

(5)   The main aim of introducing night sittings of the Court was to save parties the inconvenience and expense of taking time off work to attend Court during the day, not to increase the number of cases heard in the Court. There have been 308 cases heard at night to the end of September 1974.

(6)   The cost of night sittings of the Court is approximately $83 per night. The total cost to the end of September 1974 was $4,697.

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