The Tasmanian government is yet to decide on the future of three acting Supreme Court judges whose terms finish on January 24.
A spokesman for Attorney General and Justice Minister Elise Archer said on Tuesday: "We expect to make an announcement on this prior to their terms expiring".
"The acting judges are currently available on a part-time sessional basis and are funded until June 2021."
IN OTHER NEWS:
The query over the future of the acting judges comes despite a blowout in Supreme Court court lists.
The state government is also in the process of recruiting a seventh Supreme Court judge.
Three acting judges were appointed in February 2017 for two years to assist with the throughput of cases "to achieve timely finalisation" and they had contracts extended by a year in 2019.
The acting judges are David Porter, former Federal Court judge Shane Marshall and former South Australian and Northern Territory judge Brian Martin.
Ms Archer said the government had committed to providing $1.1 million per annum for the seventh judge starting on July 1.
Last year Ms Archer said she met regularly with the Chief Justice [Alan Blow] to discuss caseload and issues such as the level of judicial resourcing required to conduct an efficient, modern court system with a manageable caseload.
The Director of Public Prosecutions annual report for 2019-20 said that there was a backlog of 690 cases at June 30 compared with 382 in 2016-17.
"The criminal backlog cannot be adequately addressed without a considerable increase to ongoing funding to this Office," Director Daryl Coates SC said.
"It should be remembered in respect to every case that is awaiting determination there are victims, witnesses and accused in a highly stressed situation," he said.
"One of the consequences of cases being delayed is that witnesses become fatigued and unavailable or their memories fade. This results in the discharge rate increasing."
Budget papers show that 35 per cent of pending Supreme Court cases are older than 12 months with funding for Supreme Court services increasing from $14.27 million in 2019-20 to $14.49 million in 2020-21.
Last year acting Justice Marshall told a sentencing hearing that his contract ran out on January 24, 2021.
He is scheduled to hand down a sentence in the Supreme Court in Launceston to a Launceston man on January 28, 2021.
"The Tasmanian government is committed to ensuring that all Tasmanians have access to an efficient and effective criminal and civil justice system," Ms Archer said.