The current Magistrates’ Court building in Melbourne opened its doors back in 1995. While it initially looked streamlined and modern in comparison with the other buildings on the corner of William and Lonsdale, like any public building it has now begun to show its age.
Some court users aren’t happy about the inside of the building. Summary legal practice has evolved considerably in the last two decades. Laws and procedures can change overnight, but the layout of a building is more difficult to change on-the-fly.
The Law Institute of Victoria recently wrote to the Chief Magistrate about the lack of facilities at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court. President Danny Barlow described pre-court conferences regularly occurring in corridors because of the lack of conference rooms.
The Criminal Procedure Act 2009 emphasises pre-court conferences, and in some instances, mandates them. The demand for appropriate space in court buildings will only increase.