Tasmania Releases Draft Justice and Bail Bills for Community Consultation

Tuesday 9 February 2021 @ 10.15 a.m. | Crime | Judiciary, Legal Profession & Procedure | Legal Research

Tasmania’s Department of Justice has released two draft Bills for community comment and consultation - the [Draft] Justice Miscellaneous (Increasing Judicial Retirement Age) Bill 2021, for which consultation closes on 19 February 2021, and the [Draft] Bail Bill 2021, for which consultation closes on 19 March 2021.

Overview of the Justice Miscellaneous (Increasing Judicial Retirement Age) Bill 2021

According to Elise Archer, Minister for Justice, the Department is “seeking public comment on its intention to introduce legislation that will increase the mandatory retirement age for judges and magistrates from 72 to 75”.

Commenting on the proposed changes in a Media Release, the Minister said:

“The increase of the age of judicial retirement will support the courts’ ability to operate effectively, retain continuity and valuable institutional knowledge from our most experienced judges and magistrates, and also aid in progressing the backlogs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The Minister also said that the Tasmanian Government “recognises that Tasmanians are living and working for longer than they were in 2005, when the retirement age was last increased”.

The draft Bill also includes consequential amendments to the Supreme Court Act 1887, the Supreme Court Act 1959 and the Magistrates Court Act 1987.

Overview of the Bail Bill 2021

Commenting on the proposed legislation in a Media Release, Minister Archer said:

“The Bail Bill 2021 has been developed following considerable consultation with relevant stakeholders and will modernise Tasmania’s Bail Act 1994 to better reflect community expectations when offenders are accused of committing a crime such as murder or serious drug trafficking, or are deemed to be at high risk of reoffending while on bail”.

As outlined on the Department of Justice Community Consultations website:

“the draft Bill seeks to be the primary and almost comprehensive reference on the law on bail in Tasmania. The Bill has incorporated much of the existing common law into statute and brings bail provisions from other legislation across to make the law around bail clearer and easier to navigate”.

Key Features of the Proposed Bail Bill

Some of the key features of the proposed bill include:

  • a general purpose clause;
  • a reversal of the presumption for bail for specific offences and subject to specific criteria unless the accused can demonstrate “exceptional circumstances”;
  • a non-exhaustive list of relevant considerations that a grantor of bail is to take into account when assessing whether a person poses an “unacceptable risk” and therefore should not be granted bail;
  • clarification of the powers and responsibilities of police in relation to bail;
  • a non-exhaustive list of conditions that might be imposed on an accused who is admitted to bail; and
  • a provision that the imposition of conditions must not be more onerous than necessary and must be reasonable, having regard to the nature of the alleged offence and circumstances of the accused person.

Many of the key features for the proposed Bail Bill 2021 were based on proposals which were outlined in a Position Paper which was developed and released on 1 January 2018 for public consultation.

Material for the Position Paper was gathered from a number of sources, particularly the Victorian Law Reform Commission - Review of the Bail Act – Final Report; the New South Wales Law Reform Commission - Report 133 – Bail; and the Hon Paul Coghlan QC’s Bail Review: First Advice to the Victorian Government and Bail Review: Second Advice to the Victorian Government.

TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.


[Draft] Justice Miscellaneous (Increasing Judicial Retirement Age) Bill 2021 (Tas) and [Draft] Bail Bill 2021 (Tas) – Draft Bills and supporting information available from TimeBase's LawOne Service

Media Release: Increasing the mandatory retirement age of Tasmania’s judges and magistrates (Elise Archer, Minister for Justice, 2 February 2021)

Media Release: Delivering on bail law reform to keep Tasmanians safe (Elise Archer, Attorney-General, 3 February 2021)

Related Articles: