Three additional magistrates have been appointed to the Local Court of NSW, in the first stage of a $56.1 million investment to strengthen the state’s busiest court to deliver more efficient justice across the state. 

Attorney General and Minister for Prevention of Domestic and Sexual Violence Mark Speakman said the appointment of two deputy chief magistrates, one to provide leadership on domestic violence matters, will help further reinforce the Local Court’s role as the backbone of NSW’s justice system.   

“These five appointments will together help equip the Local Court to deal efficiently with a caseload that amounts to 96 percent of all criminal prosecutions and more than 90 percent of civil matters before the state’s courts,” Mr Speakman said. 

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“The addition of three extra magistrates bringing the total number of judicial officers on the Local Court bench to a record 144. Further appointments of extra magistrates to be announced in coming months will boost the bench to 149.” 

Magistrates Sharon Freund and Theo Tsavdaridis will commence as deputy chief magistrates on 17 December. Magistrate Freund replaces former deputy chief magistrate Jane Mottley, who is now Senior Judge of the Drug Court, and will have a specific focus on domestic violence cases. Magistrate Theo Tsavdaridis’ appointment will boost the number of deputy chief magistrates to three. 

Mr Speakman also welcomed new magistrates Emma Manea, Catherine Samuels and Stephen Barlow. 

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“The people of NSW are indeed fortunate to have at their disposal the wealth of legal talent represented by these three appointees. They will all bring their broad experience and deep understanding of the law to their new roles on the Local Court bench,” Mr Speakman said. 

“The investment announced in this year’s budget for eight additional magistrates will also provide more resources to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and Legal Aid NSW.” 

Mr Barlow will become a magistrate on 17 January, Ms Manea on 1 February and Ms Samuels 2 February. Each appointee will complete a training course after which they’ll preside at locations to be determined by NSW Chief Magistrate Peter Johnstone.