Retired judge to lead historic review of Justices Act 1886

Published Saturday, 26 March, 2022 at 01:15 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

Queensland’s Justices Act 1886 will be comprehensively reviewed for the first time in over a century.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman, said the highly respected retired District Court judge, Mr Michael Shanahan AM has been appointed to lead the historic review of the Justices Act 1886.“The Justices Act 1886 is used every day in Queensland and is fundamental to our criminal justice system,” Minister Fentiman said.

“This review is well overdue, it’s been 135 years since the Act was introduced in Queensland Parliament, and it’s crucial our justice system can continue to operate effectively for Queenslanders now and into the future.

“While the Justices Act has been amended and added to over the years, it has not been comprehensively reviewed, and many of its provisions carry the form and style of another era.

“The review highlights the Palaszczuk Government’s significant commitment to reform of the administration of justice in Queensland.

“I am delighted that retired District Court Judge and former President of the Childrens Court of Queensland, Michael Shanahan, has agreed to conduct this important review to create a new framework for contemporary and effective criminal procedure laws in Queensland’s Magistrates Courts.”

Minister Fentiman said the review would involve widespread consultation including with the Queensland judiciary, the Chief Magistrate and courts’ staff, prosecution agencies, legal stakeholders, and the community generally.

“The Palaszczuk Government has committed to introducing new Magistrates Court criminal procedure legislation that supports a modern, fair and timely criminal justice system before the end of this term,” she said.

“The reviewer is tasked with making recommendations to guide preparation of draft legislation.

“This is a ground-breaking review, especially given the important role Magistrates Courts have in dealing with criminal matters in Queensland.”

Mr Shanahan served as the President of the Childrens Court of Queensland from 2011 to 2018. In 2018, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to the judiciary and legal profession and as an advocate and mentor for juvenile and Indigenous justice issues.




Media contact:     Inga Williams                    0439 949 719