The Supreme Court of Victoria has allocated a record number of sitting days across regional Victoria in 2020.
As part of the court’s commitment to serving the state, the 2020 Supreme Court calendar allows for up to 670 sitting days in regional courts – the highest number of regional dates in the court’s history.
The days cover Criminal, Common Law and Court of Appeal divisions of the Court.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Ferguson said the Court was proud of its regional presence and keen to continue to develop it.
“We have a long history of making justice accessible to regional Victorians, with circuit sittings dating back to 1852 when the Court was first established,” she said.
“Today, we have more technology that can bridge distance, but we should never forget that the Court is a court for all Victorians and it is important we take the Court to the people in regional Victoria.”
“The more we can take the Court to locations that are closer to the individuals, companies and communities involved, the more we can demystify the work and role of the Court and develop, listen and learn ourselves.
“The Court also greatly values the work of regional lawyers, whose high calibre and dedication to their local communities is crucial to making these circuits run smoothly.”
In the Court of Appeal’s 25th anniversary year, the calendar allows for 15 Court of Appeal days on circuit in Ballarat, Geelong, Horsham, Latrobe Valley, Shepparton and Wodonga.
Allocating the time ensures facilities and judicial staff are available to sit on circuit, though if relevant local matters resolve beforehand or are not ready to proceed, the dates will be vacated.
In 2019, 601 days were allocated across regional courts, with 115 days taken up by the Criminal Division, 50 by Common Law and 3 days by the Court of Appeal.