Two Years of Suppression under the Open Courts Act 2013 (Vic)
SYDNEY LAW REVIEW - VOLUME 39, NUMBER 1, MARCH 2017
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The Open Courts Act 2013 (Vic) (‘OC Act’) was introduced in response to concerns that suppression orders were granted too frequently by the Victorian courts and that problems often existed in relation to the breadth, clarity and duration of such orders. Some of these concerns were verified in a 2013 study of all suppression orders made in Victoria between 2008 and 2012. In order to assess the impact of the OC Act, this article presents the findings of a follow-up empirical study of suppression orders made by the Victorian courts in the two years following the commencement of the OC Act on the 1 December 2013. The main results show that there has been no notable reduction in the overall number of suppression orders since that time and that the OC Act has led to no improvements in terms of the scope and clarity of orders. Furthermore, while the data demonstrates a significant reduction in orders being made without sufficient end dates, it is also found that the County and Magistrates’ courts frequently make orders that they do not have the power to make.