Attorney-General Simon Corbell has announced the release of a discussion paper “Judicial Complaints and Arrangement of Court business”:
“The scope of the current Judicial Commissions Act 1994 in the ACT is too narrow to allow the executive due consideration of a matter based on its level of severity,” Mr Corbell said.
“Currently, when a serious complaint is made in cases where there is the potential to recommend the removal of a judicial officer, a judicial commission must be established to examine the claim and there is currently no legislative framework for handling less serious complaints.
“The potential changes to the way judicial complaints are handled in the ACT raise several important matters for consideration and that is why the government is entering into a detailed consultation period with the community and the ACT legal profession.”
The discussion paper examines options for reform in the ACT, with a focus on models used in New South Wales and recently legislated in the Commonwealth.
The discussion paper also examines Commonwealth legislation providing express powers to heads of jurisdictions to manage the workload of judicial officers and ensure appropriate access to health assessments, counselling services and judicial education.
Mr Corbell said the proposed reforms delivered on one of the ACT Labor Government’s election commitments from this year’s election.
“The ACT Labor Government outlined a suite of law and justice reforms in the recent election campaign and we are already getting to work to deliver these important changes for the ACT community,” he said.
“Strengthening mechanisms for addressing complaints will increase transparency and accountability, while maintaining judicial independence and ensuring community confidence in the justice system.”