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​Open Justice Under Examination

[PDF version of this media release]

Published date: Thursday, 28 February 2019

The NSW Law Reform Commission (LRC) will begin an extensive review of laws that impact access to court information, Attorney General Mark Speakman announced today.

Mr Speakman said the Open Justice Review will determine whether our laws strike the right balance between protecting the rights of victims and witnesses, privacy, confidentiality and the public interest in open justice. 

“Justice should not only be done and, unless there’s good reason, should be seen to be done. Restrictions on publication may be necessary in sensitive cases, such as sexual assault proceedings, or where there is a risk that traumatised young victims might be identified. 

“The review will look closely at a wide range of issues including suppression and non-publication orders and whether the media should be given greater access to court documents including statements of facts,” Mr Speakman said.

“It’s important that restrictions on access to information in court cases are justified. That’s why I have asked the LRC to put the microscope on the laws that determine what journalists and the public can access and report.”

The review will place particular focus on the Court Suppression and Non Publication Orders Act 2010 and whether changes are needed to address the practical impact on court operations of the uncommenced Court Information Act 2010. 

“The review will undertake public consultation, including with stakeholders from the media, judiciary, and legal profession. Any interested person is also welcome to make a submission to the Open Justice Review,” Mr Speakman said.

“It is important that the LRC canvass a broad range of people to hear their concerns and issues, which will help determine if reforms are needed.”

The terms of reference for the Open Justice Review can be found on the NSW Law Reform Commission’s website: https://www.lawreform.justice.nsw.gov.au/