TOP law firms, universities and Legal business groups have joined City of Parramatta Council’s bold bid to transform the Parramatta CBD into one of Australia’s key legal hubs.
City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer, NSW Member for Parramatta Dr Geoff Lee MP and other members of the new Parramatta Legal & Justice Coalition will begin advocating for a permanent Supreme Court presence, new law school, and more jobs in the Parramatta CBD.
“Parramatta is a rapidly growing powerhouse in the centre of global Sydney and we have brought together this powerful coalition to transform the CBD into one of the country’s largest and most influential justice and legal precincts,” Cr Dwyer said.
“The people of Greater Sydney deserve equal access to legal and justice services. We will work closely with our partners to advocate for a permanent Supreme Court presence in Sydney’s Central River City, as well as a new law school and start-up innovation hub to nurture local talent.
“Realising our vision for an expanded Justice Precinct in the CBD will be game-changing, attracting more than 2,200 permanent legal jobs, boosting the local economy by $350 million a year, and tripling the annual number of cases heard to 75,000.”
NSW Member for Parramatta Dr Geoff Lee said: “Being the geographical centre of Sydney, Parramatta is ideally located to service the legal needs of Western Sydney.
Western Sydney will grow by another million residents over the next 20 years which will require expanded legal services. Whilst Parramatta is the largest legal precinct outside the Sydney CBD, there is now the opportunity to plan for its future. I commend City of Parramatta Council for recognising and promoting the legal hub.”
Parramatta & District Law Society President Steve McAuley was elected Chair of the Parramatta Legal & Justice Coalition at its inaugural meeting, recently held online.
Coalition members include representatives from the University of New England Law School; law firms Coleman Greig Lawyers, Lachlan Macquarie Chambers, Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers, Frank Law, and Shephard & Shephard Solicitors; the Parramatta & District Law Society; and business groups Parramatta Chamber of Commerce, Business Western Sydney, and Property Council of Australia.
Shephard & Shephard Solicitors is Parramatta’s oldest continuous family-operated law firm, opening its first local office in 1908.
The firm’s principal Michael Shephard said: “I have watched the dramatic growth of the Parramatta legal precinct with great pride over the last 50 years. That growth is understandable given the precinct’s more relevant and convenient location for the people of Greater Sydney and the whole of NSW. I am keen to assist the Council’s new coalition in making the precinct even more relevant and useful.”
- Parramatta is the second largest legal centre in NSW and its courts hear 25,000 cases a year.
- Over the next 20 years, court matters in Parramatta are expected to increase by 30%.
- Greater Sydney has 5% of the state’s legal jobs compared with 71% in the Sydney CBD.
- Between 2016 and 2036, the number of legal services professionals living within 30 minutes of Parramatta will nearly double.
- If the Parramatta Supreme Court had a permanent judge, it could hear an extra 4,000 matters a year.
Image: Professor Michael Adams, head of UNE Law School.