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Federal Court of Australia Amendment (Extending Criminal Jurisdiction and Other Measures) Bill

In the brief time provided, the Law Council of Australia has had limited opportunity to canvass with its Constituent Bodies the complex issues arising from the Federal Court of Australia Amendment (Extending Criminal Jurisdiction and Other Measures) Bill 2022 (the Exposure Draft Bill).

However, the Law Council has had the benefit of considering the detailed submissions of the New South Wales Bar Association, and many of the technical issues discussed in this letter reflect that feedback.

The Law Council appreciates the objective of ensuring greater resourcing for Commonwealth criminal trials, particularly in the context of corporate crime. However, on balance, the Law Council’s position is that the Exposure Draft Bill represents a substantial change to the federal and state court system that requires further detailed justification and consultation. In that regard, the Law Council notes that its evaluation of the Exposure Draft Bill has been hampered by the absence of an issues paper or explanatory material setting out the detailed rationale for the approach taken in the Exposure Draft Bill.

The Law Council’s recommendation is that the Exposure Draft Bill be deferred for further consultation and an issues paper or explanatory memorandum be drafted that sets out the rationale for change.

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