22 March 2013

Courts and security

From the Explanatory Memo for the Court Security Bill 2013 (Cth) -
This Bill creates a new framework for court security arrangements for federal courts and tribunals. The new framework will meet the security needs of the modern court environment by providing a range of powers for security officers, and limited powers for authorised court officers, to ensure that court premises are safe and secure environments for court users, court staff, judicial officers and other persons on federal court and tribunal premises. The Bill replaces the current security framework for federal courts and tribunals under Part IIA of the Public Order (Protection of Persons and Property) Act 1971 (Public Order Act). 
For ease of reference, the use of the term 'court' ... includes all federal courts, the Family Court of Western Australia (FCWA) and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) unless otherwise specified. 
Part 1 of the Bill deals with preliminary matters, including commencement and definitions. It also provides a guide to the remainder of the Bill. 
Part 2 of the Bill establishes the framework for the exercise of security powers on court premises. Division 1 provides for the appointment of security officers and authorised court officers by administrative heads of courts and requires appointed officers to hold prescribed qualifications. Divisions 2, 3 and 4 outline the powers available to security officers and authorised court officers and prescribes certain offences related to non-compliance with the exercise of these powers. Division 5 authorises security officers to escort people to and from court premises as a protective measure. Division 6 provides various safeguards around the exercise of security powers, including requiring security officers to be appropriately licensed under a law of a State or Territory, and to carry, and produce, identification when exercising a security power in relation to a person. Division 7 provides for complaint procedures in relation to the exercise of powers by officers under the Bill, and an oversight role for the Commonwealth Ombudsman. 
Part 3 of the Bill prescribes certain additional offences connected with court premises including possessing a weapon on court premises, making an unauthorised recording or transmission on court premises, and unreasonably obstructing a person's entry to, or activity on court premises. 
Part 4 of the Bill provides for judicial officers of courts exercising family law jurisdiction to make restraining or protection type orders in circumstances where there is an ongoing risk of significant disruption to those courts or a risk of violence affecting persons or property connected with those courts. 
Part 5 of the Bill deals with miscellaneous matters including immunity from suit, compensation and delegations. It also enables the Governor-General to make regulations. 
The Court Security (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2013 removes the courts and tribunals covered by this Bill from the application of provisions of the Public Order Act.