Judicial Accountability: An Australian Perspective
Justice Roslyn Atkinson of the Supreme Court of Queensland participated as a panellist in the Plenary Session: Judicial Accountability at the ANAO Meeting in Mexico on October 16, 2016. Justice Atkinson prepared a Background Paper for the panel discussion on Judicial Accountability: An Australian Perspective. The paper can be accessed by clicking here.
Background Paper on Social Media and the Courts and Tribunals
The JCA, in conjunction with the AIJA, conducted a Symposium on Social Media and the Courts and Tribunals in May 2016. A Background Paper was prepared for the Symposium and it can be accessed by clicking here.
United Nations Human Rights Commissioner: Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary
Adopted by the Seventh United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held in 1985. Click here to access a full version.
Is Access to Justice a Right or a Service?: June 2015
Justice Steven Rares, President of the JCA, presented a paper at the ‘Access to Justice – Taking the Next Steps’ Symposium held on 26 June 2015 at Monash University, organised jointly by the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation and the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration. To view the paper, entitled ‘Is Access to Justice a Right or a Service?’, please click here.
Judicial Appointments Comparative Study
The processes for appointment of judicial officers is a matter of interest to members of the JCA. The JCA’s Governing Council initiated the preparation of a report to record the various processes for appointment throughout Australia and in other comparable jurisdictions. The report is now complete. It considers all of the Australian jurisdictions in terms of:
- Authority to appoint
- Eligibility for appointment
- Criteria for appointment
- The selection process
To view the 1st edition of the report, please click here.
More recent developments
After publication of this paper, an article entitled “Facing up to Diversity? Transparency and the Reform of Commonwealth Judicial Appointments 2008 – 13” by Elizabeth Handsley and Andrew Lynch has been published in the Sydney Law Review, vol 37(2). To read this article, click here. More recently, in October 2015, the Queensland Attorney General has issued a Discussion Paper as part of a review of the judicial appointments process in Queensland. To view this discussion paper click here. As a result of these developments, and some changes in the Australian Capital Territory in regard to the appointment of Supreme Court judges, the JCA has published an updated version of its paper. To view this updated version, click here.
Guidelines for Communications and Relationships between the Judicial Branch of Government and the Legislative and Executive Branches
The Council of Chief Justices of Australia and New Zealand developed a set of guidelines for engagement between the judiciary and the legislature and executive in April 2014. To view the guidelines, please click here.
Judges in Vice-Regal Roles: September 2014
A paper prepared for the Judicial Conference of Australia by Rebecca Ananian-Welsh of the University of Queensland and Professor George Williams, AO of the University of New South Wales .To read a copy of this report click here.
An article based on this report has been published in the Federal Law Review, entitled ‘Judges in Vice-Regal Roles’. To read the article, click here.
Speech by Justice Philip McMurdo to the Supreme and Federal Courts Judges’ Conference, Darwin, 9 July 2014
Justice Philip McMurdo, the President of the Judicial Conference of Australia, delivered a speech at the Supreme and Federal Courts Judges’ Conference, held in Darwin, on 9th July 2014. To read a copy of that speech click here.
Judicial Independence from the Executive: July 2014
A paper prepared for the Judicial Conference of Australia by Professor George Williams, AO & Rebecca Ananian-Welsh of the University of New South Wales on judicial independence is now available. To read a copy of this report click here.
An article based on this report has been published in the Monash University Law Review, entitled ‘Judicial Independence from the Executive: A First-Principles Review of the Australian Cases’. To read the article, click here.
Western Australian report on judicial complaints processes: November 2013
The Western Australian Law Reform Commission’s report on Complaints against Judiciary accords with the JCA’s position in its reports on a structured system to deal with complaints against judicial officers.
Judges and Policy: a Delicate Balance
Paper by Lord Neuberger, June 2013
In this recently presented paper, Lord Neuberger discusses the role of the judiciary in the State. To read or download the paper, please click here.
JCA Guidelines on Public Pronouncements about Proposed Legislation, October 2012
The JCA has developed a policy regarding the circumstances in which it would be appropriate for the JCA to make public comment on, or submissions concerning, proposed legislative changes. To read this policy here.
Judicial Officers’ Retirement Benefits, July 2012
The JCA has published a Position Paper on Judicial Officers’ Retirement Benefits. To read a copy of the paper, click here.
JCA submission to the Senate Standing Committee’s inquiry related to complaints of judicial behaviour, 2012
The following submissions was made in response to a request from the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, which invited the Judicial Conference of Australia to provide written submissions to two inquiries.
To view the JCA’s submission to the Committee’s inquiry into the Courts Legislation Amendment (Judicial Complaints) Bill 2012 and the Judicial Misbehaviour and Incapacity (Parliamentary Commissions) Bill 2012, click here.
JCA submission to the Senate Standing Committee’s inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Removal of Mandatory Minimum Penalties) Bill 2012, 2012
To view the JCA’s submission to the Committee’s inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Removal of Mandatory Minimum Penalties) Bill 2012, click here.
JCA View of Sentencing, 2011
To read the JCA view of sentencing, click here.
The National Legal Profession Taskforce, August 2010
To read the submission of the Judicial Conference of Australia, please click here.
Time Allowed for Judgment Writing, August 2010
The executive summary of a report commissioned by the JCA on the Time Allowed for Judgment Writing is now available. Please click here to read a copy. To receive a full report, please contact the JCA Secretariat.
Complaints Against Judicial Officers Project, December 2009 & January 2010
The Judicial Conference of Australia is contributing to the ongoing debate and resolution of issues in regards to the handling of complaints against judicial officers. A committee, chaired by Justice David Harper, AM of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria, has produced two reports.
An addendum to the second of these reports, reflecting the recent report of the Australian Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee, has also been written.
To read the reports, please click here.
Guide to Judicial Conduct, 2007
Published for The Council of Chief Justices of Australia by The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA). To view, please click here.
Judge for Yourself: A Guide to Sentencing in Australia – This booklet has been prepared by the Judicial Conference of Australia as a resource for the public. This booklet’s purpose is to
provide, in accessible language, a guide to the sentencing of offenders in Australia. Copies are available from the JCA’s Secretariat at $2.00 per copy plus postage.
A handbook, Working with the Media: a Handbook for Australian Judicial Officers provides basic information in order to assist judicial officers to understand better how the media work and to appreciate the factors that tend to motivate journalists in their dealings with courts. This publication is only available to members of the JCA.
Enquiries may be directed to the Secretariat at email@example.com.
In the press
The following are articles, opinion pieces and letters to the editor, which have been published in the print media.
The role of the judiciary
The President of the JCA, Justice Philip McMurdo, wrote an opinion piece published in The Australian on 15 November 2013 in response to the recent media attention on the role and performance of the judiciary.
PM’s Criticisms of High Court
A statement written by Justice Philip McMurdo and reported on by various media outlets, September 2011.
JCA Views on Sentencing
An opinion article written by Justice David Harper and published in The Melbourne Herald Sun, May 2011.
JCA Views on Sentencing
An opinion article written by Justice David Harper and published in The Age, May 2011.
Acting Judges and Judicial Independence
An opinion article written by Justice Ronald Sackville and published in The Age, 28 February 2005.
Position of The Hon. J Shaw
Then Chair of the Judicial Conference, Justice Ronald Sackville, wrote a response to an editorial published by The Australian on 4 November, 2004 regarding the position of The Hon. Jeff Shaw. This letter was then published on Tuesday, 9 November, 2004.
Communications with government
Below are copies of letters sent by the Judicial Conference of Australia, usually to government, about matters of concern to judicial officers.
Proposal to appoint acting judges in Victoria
The Judicial Conference of Australia had concerns in regard to a proposal by the Attorney General of Victoria to legislate to permit the appointment of acting judges in Victoria. The Chair of the Judicial Conference of Australia wrote to the Attorney General, the Hon Rob Hulls, MP, on two occasions to express concern in regard to the proposed legislation. To read, please click here.
Concern for the independence of the magistracy
The objects of the JCA all relate to the public interest in maintaining a strong and independent judiciary within a democratic society that adheres to the rule of law. The following correspondence relates to the Magistrates’ Court Bill 2003 (WA):
- Letter to The Hon J McGinty MLA, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice & Legal Affairs of Western Australia from Justice Ronald Sackville, Deputy Chair of the JCA (16 April 2004)
- Reply from The Hon J McGinty MLA, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice & Legal Affairs of Western Australia to Justice Ronald Sackville, Deputy Chair of the JCA (May 2004)
- Letter to The Hon J McGinty MLA, from Justice Ronald Sackville, Chair of the JCA (8 November 2004), including suggested amendments to the Bill.
Papers for previous Colloquia can be found here.