Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, will this week introduce a Bill to establish a Judicial Council to consider complaints against ACT judges and magistrates.
The new council will consist of the Chief Justice, Chief Magistrate and representatives of the legal profession and general community.
The council will have powers to receive, report and investigate complaints – and to take appropriate action to address the complaints.
“Reforming the arrangements for handling complaints against judicial officers delivers on the government’s election commitment,” Mr Corbell said.
Currently, the only formal mechanism for dealing with complaints is by establishing a judicial commission to consider whether a judge or magistrate should be removed from office.
“The new regime preserves the judicial commission process, but formalises an effective process for managing complaints that don’t merit consideration of removal from office,” Mr Corbell said.
The Judicial Commissions Amendment Bill, which will be introduced on Thursday, also includes a power for the head of each court jurisdiction to refer a judicial officer for medical or psychological examination in cases of suspected impairment.
“The ACT community deserves a justice system which is accountable, responsive and effective,” Mr Corbell said.
“Strengthening mechanisms for addressing complaints will increase transparency and accountability, while maintaining judicial independence and promoting community confidence in the justice system.”
The Bill also includes provisions allowing the Attorney-General to make arrangements for dealing with complaints against presidential members of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
(Simon Corbell Media Release)