It's "only a matter of time" before someone is hurt in the Launceston Family Court building, Law Society of Tasmania president Evan Hughes says.
The Law Society, along with the Family Law Practitioners Association of Tasmania, have identified a suitable alternative site for the Family Court which Mr Hughes believes is "fit for purpose", unlike the current site on St John Street.
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Mr Hughes said he was unable to reveal the alternative building that had been identified, due to commercial-in-confidence.
Some of the issues plaguing the current Launceston Family Court building include:
- The security screening point being located on the third floor of the building rather than at the entrance;
- Capacity problems leaving the sole waiting room heaving with people and;
- Occasions whereby judges and lawyers, as well as vulnerable women and children, have had to mix with litigants appearing in court.
Mr Hughes called on federal Attorney-General Christian Porter to visit the site and "see for himself" the dangers associated with it.
"It's only a matter of time before somebody is hurt as a result of the clear failings of that building - whether that's a judge, whether that's a federal circuit court judge, whether that's a lawyer, whether that's a litigant," he said.
"Heaven help us if that's a child.
"It's only because of the sheer good management of the staff of the court and the work done by lawyers who are conscious of the danger and just plain old dumb luck that we haven't had something happen."
Mr Hughes said he'd spoken to a Federal Circuit Court judge in Launceston earlier this week who told him he'd witnessed a defendant engaged in a "violent struggle" with police in the waiting room.
The judge also told Mr Hughes that he would sit in the Launceston Family Court more often "if he felt safer".
Meanwhile, a judicial officer told the Law Society president that he'd been in the lift of the Family Court building when a prisoner in custody entered the lift and "travelled up and down with him".
Law Council of Australia president Arthur Moses SC visited Launceston to tour the Family Court facilities earlier this month.
Mr Porter has previously saidthat the federal courts were responsible for their own operations and management and were independent from the executive arm of government.
But he added that the government considered conditions and security in the courts a "very important matter" and so ensured that they were appropriately resourced to manage these.
Mr Porter was contacted for comment.