The Local Court Bench Book is a comprehensive guide for magistrates for the conduct of civil and criminal practice and procedure in the Local Court of New South Wales. The members of the Local Court Bench Book Subcommittee and Judicial Commission of New South Wales staff who produced the work, and who have kept it up to date, are to be congratulated.

Previous editions of the Bench Book were available only to magistrates. To coincide with the commencement of the Local Court Act 2007 on 6 July 2009, which established the Local Court as a single constituted court sitting at 153 locations across the State, it was decided to make the Bench Book more widely available. It is hoped that this will further enhance the contribution of the Bench Book to the efficient administration of justice in New South Wales. The Local Court of New South Wales is the largest and busiest court in Australia and finalises 96 per cent all criminal matters and 90 per cent of all civil matters within New South Wales.

The Judicial Commission has always welcomed criticism and suggestions from magistrates about the contents of the Bench Book. Now that the Bench Book will be more widely available, the invitation to make suggestions and advance criticisms is extended to the broader legal community, with the hope that this will ensure the maintenance of a Bench Book of the highest quality and authority over the long term. It is appropriate to reiterate that the Bench Book does not contain an authoritative statement of the law.


His Honour Peter Johnstone
Chief Magistrate