ACT Government to establish Law & Sentencing Advisory Council

The ACT Government will establish a Law and Sentencing Advisory Council. The new body will advise the Government on areas of potential law reform, as well as provide expert advice on sentencing.

The Council will perform a dual role, with its primary purpose to support the Government to keep the law current and relevant for the ACT community. The Council will also have a sentencing advisory role, which may include the collection, analysis and publication of data on sentencing trends and practices.

The establishment of the Council will be funded out of the Confiscated Assets Trust.

The Council will have broad membership and include representation from the community and justice sector. This may include ACT Policing, ACT Courts, the ACT Bar Association, the ACT Law Society, and the legal assistance sector. Members would be appointed in their personal capacity to reflect diverse and expert perspectives on law reform, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives.

“This new, independent Council will undertake a critical advisory function on law reform and sentencing issues,” Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said. “Sentencing is an important function of courts and one that is of particular interest to the community.

“Instead of a once off review, this council will be a lasting mechanism that will be both proactive and reactive in considering sentencing issues.”

An important function of the Council will be to help bring together perspectives from across the community, the courts and the government by informing, engaging and advising on sentencing issues.

“The Council will undertake community and stakeholder consultation, and conduct and publish research, in order to make recommendations on law reform and sentencing issues referred to it,” Attorney-General Rattenbury said.

“By working collaboratively, the Council will make informed recommendations for systemic improvements on issues that matter to Canberrans.

“In the past months, we have seen calls from within the community for changes to sentencing. This Council will operate independently, to address issues as they arise in a considered and consultative fashion.”

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