In 2017, an independent review of the Open Courts Act 2013 (the Act) was conducted by former Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Frank Vincent.

The Open Courts Act Review (the Review) was asked to consider whether the Act is striking the right balance between the need for open and transparent justice, and the need to protect the legitimate interests of victims, witnesses and accused persons, and to preserve the proper administration of justice.

The Review consulted with and received submissions from a range of organisations including the media, courts, police, victims’ groups, and legal service providers.

The Review found that courts and tribunals made relatively few suppression orders in comparison to their overall caseloads, but that further work was needed to ensure future orders are clearer and made only when necessary. 

It also recommended a range of improvements to existing suppression laws.

The government supports in full or in principle 17 of the 18 recommendations, and one recommendation (relating to the role of the Public Interest Monitor) is under further consideration.

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