Courts in urgent need of stable funding
26 March 2019
The Law Society is gravely concerned by reports that the Courts Administration Authority could be facing further budget cuts.
The State Government, in its first budget since coming into power, reduced funding to the Courts Administration Authority by $7.7 million over three years, despite the CAA already operating on a tight budget which had forced it to reduce services such as the closure of the Holden Hill Magistrates Court and scale back court circuits in regional areas.
“Successive budget cuts by Labor and Liberal Governments have seriously impaired the ability of the courts to deliver justice to the community in a timely manner,” said President of the Law Society of SA, Amy Nikolovski.
The serious issues of excessive delays in our courts and lack of access to court services in regional and remote areas can no longer be relegated to the bottom of the priority list.”
“The courts cannot continue to bear the brunt of so called ‘efficiency dividends’. The CAA urgently needs an injection of resources.”
The Society, in a State budget submission to be presented to the Government next week, is advocating for the reversal of the cuts announced in last year’s budget, with additional funding to enable the courts to manage caseloads effectively and efficiently and adequately service all South Australians regardless of where they live.
The Society will also call for a reduction in court fees, which act as a financial barrier to accessing justice. These fees are collected by the CAA but largely go into general revenue rather than invested back into the courts.