Progressing Suite Of Important Legislative Reforms

Guy Barnett, Attorney General

The Tasmanian Government is moving to ensure the State’s legislative framework remains contemporary and functions as intended.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Guy Barnett, said a Bill tabled in the House of Assembly today addresses a number of emerging issues and corrects errors or deficiencies that have become apparent in a range of legislation, including amendments to the Coroners Act 1995, Criminal Code Act 1924, Legal Profession Act 2007, Police Offences Act 1935 and Variation of Trusts Act 1994.

“Central amongst the reforms contained in the Justice and Related Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2024, known as Jari’s Law, is an amendment to the Coroners Act 1995 to require a coroner to hold an inquest if the coroner suspects that family violence has materially contributed to the death of the deceased,” the Attorney-General said.

“This amendment will allow closer examination of the circumstances leading up to a death where family violence may have been a factor, providing greater understanding of what has occurred for both the family and friends of the deceased and also informing the Government’s response to the issue of family violence.

“We are working hard to deliver our 2030 Strong Plan for Tasmania’s Future, and a strengthened, contemporary legal system is an important component.”

The Bill also makes several amendments to the Criminal Code Act 1924 which:

  1. create two indictable offences to mirror summary offences in sections 72 and 74 of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Enforcement Act 1995;
  2. clarify the Governor’s power to appoint Crown Law Officers;
  3. limit the ability of the defence to question a complainant’s evidence on the basis there has been a delay in making a complaint in family violence matters, adopting the approach that applies to some other types of offending; and
  4. repeal the crime of blasphemy.

Amendments are made to the Police Offences Act 1935 to:

  1. remove references to the crime of blasphemy; and
  2. ensure that there is no time limit for commencing prosecutions of ‘indecent assault’ under section 35, with retrospective effect to historical offending and validation of any proceedings commenced since 20 April 2023, consistent with the intention of amendments to that section that commenced on that date.

The Bill also amends the Legal Profession Act 2007 to clarify the minimum balance of the Solicitors’ Guarantee Fund, and the Variation of Trusts Act 1994 to remove doubt about making applications under the Act to vary charitable trusts established prior to the introduction of this Act.

/Public Release. View in full here.