Victoria now has a new, more independent, Courts and Tribunal Service (CTS) to provide administrative support for Victoria's courts and VCAT.
Attorney-General Robert Clark said the establishment of the CTS was a key step forward in delivering the Victorian Coalition Government's commitment to strengthening judicial independence.
"The current system of court administration means court administrative staff are ultimately answerable to the executive government rather than to the judiciary.
"Not only does this potentially hamper the independence of the courts, it has also been cumbersome and inefficient and had made it harder for courts and judges to introduce reforms and improvements in how the courts operate," Mr Clark said.
Prior to the 2010 election, the Coalition committed to establish a new Courts Executive Service (CES), independent of departmental or political control and headed by a Chief Executive Officer appointed by and answerable to the heads of jurisdiction, to provide the administrative support for all Victorian courts. Staffing and resources currently in the Courts Division of the Department of Justice would be transferred to the new CES.
The commencement of the new CTS has put in place major administrative restructuring that will form the basis for the CES, and in the meantime consolidates the vast majority of court-related administrative and support functions in a more autonomous unit.
The CTS, including the Executive Director heading the CTS, Dr Graham Hill, is located in the William Cooper Justice Centre at the corner of William Street and Lonsdale Street, in the heart of Melbourne's court precinct.
As part of the restructuring, key corporate services functions from the Department of Justice have been transferred to the CTS, including capabilities in core areas such as facilities management and information technology.
"I congratulate everyone in the Department of Justice and in courts administration who has contributed to achieving this major milestone, which provides a new court-focused service dedicated to responsive and innovative administrative support and services for Victoria's judiciary and court users," Mr Clark said.