The Courts Matters Bill and the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill are deemed to be cognate bills due to their closely related nature. Under Standing Order 269, cognate bills may be treated as though they are a single bill throughout the parliamentary process.
The bills seek to contribute to a modern, efficient, and effective courts and tribunals system. They would amend courts and tribunals legislation to improve timeframes for hearing and resolving matters, users’ experience of the courts and tribunals system, efficiency, effectiveness, and timeliness by enabling greater use of modern technology, productivity and efficiency by simplifying and standardising statutory powers and procedures, consumer protection and redress, and greater access to justice.
The Courts Matters Bill is an omnibus bill which seeks to amend 14 Acts. It aims to improve users’ experience by making courts and tribunals safer and more secure, through amendments to the Courts Security Act 1999.
The bill also aims to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and timeliness of criminal processes (through changes to the Criminal Procedure Act 2011 and the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act 2003), fines enforcement (by amending the Summary Proceedings Act 1957), and the courts generally (through amendments to 11 other Acts).
The Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation Bill would amend the powers and procedures of tribunals established under 20 Acts. It aims to improve users’ experience of tribunals by making processes easier for the public to understand and reducing the length of time it takes to hear and resolve matters.
This would be achieved by providing similar tribunals administered by the Ministry of Justice with a standard set of powers and procedures to improve productivity and administrative efficiency. It would also enable some tribunals to provide better consumer protections and redress through a simpler, quicker, and cheaper alternative to a court case.