NT Bill for an Independent Chairperson for the Parole Board

Friday 27 August 2021 @ 3.29 p.m. | Crime | Judiciary, Legal Profession & Procedure | Legal Research

On 11 August 2021, the Parole Amendment Bill 2021 (NT) (“the Bill”), was introduced to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly by Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Selena Uibo ("the Minister").

The Bill is currently before the Assembly and proposes amendments to the Parole Act 1971 (NT) (“the Act”).

Purpose of the Bill

According to the Bill’s Explanatory Statement, the purpose of the Bill is:

“to appoint an independent Chairperson to the Parole Board of the Northern Territory (the Board) and related amendments.”

Commenting on the Bill in her second reading speech, the Minister stated:

“The Chief Justice has formally requested an amendment to the Act [Parole Act 1971] to remove the requirement for the chairperson of the board to be the Chief Justice or another Supreme Court Judge nominated by the Chief Justice. The request is founded on the understanding that it is not appropriate for a permanent superior court judge to also hold office as chairperson of a parole board.”

Brief Outline of the Proposed Amendments

The Bill proposes amendments to section 3 of the Act seeks to clarify that a member appointed under new section 3B(1A) of the Act is an appointed member and also provides for the appointment of the lawyer member to the Board.

The proposed amendment to section 3B of the Act seeks to omit the requirement for a member of the Board to include the Chief Justice, or his nominee. If passed, the Bill will allow for a lawyer who has been admitted to the legal profession for at least 10 years to have Board membership.

Other amendments proposed by the Bill include:

  • changes to section 3D of the Act regarding elibility of appointment;
  • introduction of a new mechanism to remove an appointed member if they no longer meet the eligibility requirements during their term; and
  • other additional transitional provisions.

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Parole Amendment Bill 2021 (NT) and supporting documents available from TimeBase's LawOne Service

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