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Justice finds new home

Briefs

Cite as: December 2010 84(12) LIJ, p.16

The opening of Melbourne’s William Cooper Justice Centre has given lawyers a new court in which to display their professional skills.

The new multi-jurisdictional court complex is housed in the old County Court building at 223 William Street following a $33 million refurbishment.

The centre, named in honour of Indigenous rights campaigner William Cooper, contains six new courtrooms, plus rooms for mediations. The centre was part of the Brumby government’s push for increased the use of alternative dispute resolution by courts.

At the opening, Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls said it was hoped the extra courts would help ease the burden on the state’s busy court system.

“This extra court space addresses this demand, providing more space for the Supreme and Children’s Court, and other courts as required,” he said.

“It is no secret that the demand for modern and easy-to-access court space in the CBD is at an all-time high. The restoration of this old icon sets the tone for the future of Victoria’s court system – multi-jurisdictional, open and accessible.”

The centre’s multi-use trial space is also capable of housing various large hearings, such as royal commissions, which require significant space for multiple counsel, equipment and media.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Warren has repeatedly called for extra court space to ease the pressure and growing delays in the justice system.

William Cooper was a Yorta Yorta man born in the 1860s who founded the Australian Aborigines League and helped establish the Day of Mourning.

In 1938, the former Footscray resident led a protest of Indigenous Australians who walked to the German consulate in Melbourne to denounce the treatment of European Jews by the Nazis.

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