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The Department is excited to announce that Expressions of Interest to perform the role of Court Appointed Questioner in Domestic and Family Violence matters in NSW criminal courts is now open to Justices of the Peace.
The Stronger Communities Legislation Amendment (Domestic Violence) Act 2020 introduced a new protection for domestic violence complainants to ensure they cannot be directly questioned by an unrepresented accused person under the Section 289VA of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986.
This means If a defendant is self-represented in a hearing regarding a domestic violence offence, they are not allowed to examine the complainant directly. Instead, the court will appoint a person known as a Court Appointed Questioner (CAQ) to ask questions on their behalf.
A CAQ is a person appointed by the court who will ask the complainant the defendant’s questions. CAQ for Domestic and Family Violence hearings commenced on 1 September 2021 and has been operating under an interim model that has been resourced by court staff.
The 2022 Budget funding supports a new hybrid delivery model to transition from the use of court staff to the role being undertaken by:
This hybrid model will support this important protection, which means domestic violence complainants no longer have to endure the trauma of being directly cross-examined in court by an unrepresented accused person.
Clause 3A of the Justices of the Peace Regulation 2020 says that if the Court appoints a CAQ to ask questions for an unrepresented person of a domestic violence offence, the CAQ can be a Justice of the Peace (JP), refer to themselves as a JP and be paid to perform the CAQ role.
If you wish to express your interest for this important initiative. Please read and complete this expression of interest to perform the role of court appointer questioner form. (PDF, 111.2 KB)
09 Dec 2022
We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future.
Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.
You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.