South Australia’s Attorney General, the Hon Vickie Chapman MP, has announced that a new Court of Appeal will be established for South Australia.

This reform represents a significant change in the way litigation is managed in South Australia.  Currently, most appeals from state courts are heard by a panel of three Supreme Court judges.  The establishment of a standalone Court of Appeal will mean that most appeals are heard by specialist appeal judges rather than by Supreme Court judges, who currently preside over interlocutory hearings, trials and appeals.

This reform brings South Australia into line with most other Australian jurisdictions – currently South Australia and Tasmania are the only states not to have a separate Court of Appeal. 

The Attorney General has said that part of the rationale behind the establishment of the new Court of Appeal is to ensure ‘consistent, high quality judgments’.  The Attorney General also says that there are likely to be efficiencies and time savings (including judgments being published promptly) as a result of having specialist appellate judges.

There have been few details released publicly about the form and structure of the new Court, but the Attorney General has announced that consultation on the bill (Supreme Court (Court of Appeal) Amendment Bill 2019) which establishes the Court will occur ‘in the coming weeks’.  It remains to be seen, for example, whether only appeal judges will hear appeals, or whether some Supreme Court judges will serve on the Court of Appeal on an ad hoc basis – this is the practice in most states, including New South Wales.

CCK Lawyers has significant experience conducting appellate litigation, including extensive litigation in the Full Courts of the Supreme and Federal Courts, and in the High Court.  If you need more information about how these reforms may affect you, please contact our team on +61 8 8211 7955.