Queensland Law Society

QLS president warns of court closures for GC2018

Queensland Law Society president Ken Taylor has urged solicitors to keep abreast of disruptions to the court system during the 2018 Commonwealth Games held on the Gold Coast in April.

“It is important that both solicitors and the wider community are aware that the Commonwealth Games this year will disrupt parts of our justice system,” he said.

“Of course, we appreciate that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Gold Coast and Queensland, however, there is no doubt that delays in our courts will occur.”

Mr Taylor advised members of Queensland’s legal profession and the wider community to stay informed of court closures, changed arrangements and local solicitor offices which may close or relocate for the duration of the Games.

“We ask for understanding and patience as some firms may be closed for the duration of the games, may relocate or be available via phone or email rather than in person.”

“We also ask for patience with our court system which will undoubtedly suffer delays following the conclusion of the Games.”

Mr Taylor pointed out that Queensland solicitors had a high reputation and would continue to do their best for clients to avoid significant delays, however, he cautioned that court closures could affect some clients.

“The key aspect of this to note for all Queenslanders, is that during the Commonwealth Games period of 4-15 April 2018, no criminal trials or circuits will be conducted in District Courts throughout Queensland. Also, the Supreme Court in Brisbane will not conduct criminal trials and there will be reduced criminal sittings circuits and criminal trials across the state.

“There will be no hearings involving police in Queensland’s Magistrates Courts, and specific courts will operate only with arrest court or domestic violence court. Coolangatta and Beaudesert Magistrates Courts will be non-operational.”

Court closures and changed arrangements will impact many Queensland practitioners, and put more pressure on the state’s judiciary.

“We must also recognise the impact these closures will have on the hard-working judiciary of our state. A backlog will exist, and we must appreciate the extra time some cases will take following the closures,” Mr Taylor said.

“Our judiciary carry out a difficult, time-consuming and key role in our justice system, and they are already up against increasing workloads. I look forward to seeing adequate resourcing for our courts – on the bench, in the upgrading of infrastructure, and in our support services – in the future.”

Practitioners and the public can make enquiries with their relevant courts and visit the Queensland Law Society website qls.com.au/court-changes for updates as they become available.