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Steps taken to improve open justice system.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON ROBERT McCLELLAND MP

NEWS RELEASE

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600  Telephone (02) 6277 7300  Fax (02) 6273 4102 www.attorneygeneral.gov.au

7 November 112/2008

STEPS TAKEN TO IMPROVE OPEN JUSTICE SYSTEM

Attorney-General Robert McClelland today secured the commitment of the States and Territories to further develop the framework for a national electronic register of suppression orders.

This important reform further implements Rudd Government election commitments.

In-principle support for a national register was provided in July this year, subject to a proper administrative and legal framework being developed. A framework was provided and agreed by Attorneys today.

Attorneys also agreed to develop draft model provisions to harmonise the legislation governing suppression orders.

Mr McClelland said a national electronic register would make it much easier for the media to find out whether a suppression order is in place for a particular court case and what jurisdictions would be affected.

“Nationally consistent laws will ensure that the legal framework for suppression orders does not erode the principle of open justice in Australia,” Mr McClelland said.

“These reforms will result in consistency in the processes and grounds for seeking suppression orders, as well as ensuring that the media are well informed about orders that are made.”

Targeted consultation with relevant stakeholders on the draft model provisions and development of the national register will commence shortly.

Attorneys also resolved today to hold an annual harmonisation conference with legal and business stakeholders. This follows a trial conference being held in September of this year.

The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General today met in Brisbane. The communiqué will be available shortly at: www.scag.org.au

Media Contact: Adam Sims 0419 480 224.