Introduction of the Judicial Misbehaviour and Incapacity (Parliamentary Commissions) Bill 2012

March 14, 2012 |

The Attorney General introduced the Judicial Misbehaviour and Incapacity (Parliamentary Commissions) Bill 2012 today.  The homepage for the bill is found here.

The Attorney General’s announcement is:

“It is essential that the community continues to have strong confidence in our courts and a transparent and robust complaints process is fundamental to this,” Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said.

“An open and transparent judicial system is a cornerstone of a fair and just society.

“Australia’s courts are held in the highest regard and our judiciary take very seriously the responsibility entrusted to them as holders of judicial office – these reforms will strengthen our legal system.”

In the rare circumstances where this might be needed, the Judicial Misbehaviour and Incapacity (Parliamentary Commissions) Bill 2012 provides a mechanism that would assist the Parliament’s consideration of the removal of a judge from office.

This Bill enables the Parliament to establish Parliamentary Commissions to investigate serious allegations of misbehaviour or incapacity relating to a judicial officer, to support a decision to remove a judge under paragraph 72(ii) of the Constitution.

”The need for a Parliamentary Commission would be extremely rare, but it is nevertheless important to have fair and transparent processes in place, and to have it well in advance of a situation where it may be needed,” Ms Roxon said.

The second Bill, the Courts Legislation Amendment (Judicial Complaints) Bill 2012 gives a legislative basis for a largely non statutory framework to assist the Chief Justices of the Federal Court, the Family Court and the Chief Federal Magistrate to manage complaints within their courts.

The framework will give the heads of jurisdiction will have the ability to establish a Conduct Committee to investigate and report to them about a complaint.

The Government will continue to work closely with the courts to implement these reforms.


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