The state’s most senior magistrate has warned that Baird Government cuts could force the closure of local courts, cutting access to justice for many in suburban and regional areas.

In his annual report, Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson has warned that cutting of eight magistrates by the end of this year will hamper “the ability of [the] court to maintain an adequate level of service to country regions”.

Mr Henson went on to say:

“..continually lowering the resources provided will inevitably lead to a loss of capacity to provide the same level of access to justice as is current.”

“When this occurs, the court may have no alternative than to manage the outcome through a reduction in attendance at some of the smaller courts in country locations.”

The cuts to magistrates’ positions come off the back of the closure of metropolitan courts in Balmain, Kogarah, Ryde, Windsor and Camden, as well the restriction of services in local courts across the state including on the North Coast, Lithgow and Balranald.

The cuts could also affect specialist children’s court magistrates in country areas.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Attorney General Paul Lynch

 “The situation in the state’s courts must be worse than we thought for the Chief Magistrate to publically warn that courts might close.”

“The Baird Government has been starving the legal system of funds since it came to office.”

 “It is using an accountant’s logic to run the justice system. Justice should be about more than accountancy.”

 “When the Government is drowning in rivers of gold from stamp duty receipts, it’s not acceptable to try to deliver justice on the cheap.”