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No complaint about new discipline system

Briefs

Cite as: (2005) 79(4) LIJ, p. 17


The Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) has welcomed a new complaints system to investigate serious allegations against sitting judicial officers.

“The new system is clearly a positive move to a more transparent and modern system,” LIV president Tory Strong said.

Ms Strong also noted that serious complaints against judges were rare.

Under the new system announced by Attorney-General Rob Hulls, three judges would be randomly selected from a seven-member, independent standing committee to investigate complaints of serious misbehaviour or incapacity against sitting judicial officers.

The committee would be made up of interstate judges from the Federal, Family, and state and territory Supreme Courts who would be nominated by their respective chief justices.

“The legislation will also create standard grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity as the grounds for removing judges from office,” Mr Hulls said.

Under the legislation, a judicial officer could not be removed from office unless the committee made a prima facie finding that the actions amounted to misbehaviour or incapacity. Parliament would then have to agree to remove the judge or magistrate.

Mr Hulls said the new system replaced a fragmented and ad hoc system. It followed recommendations in the Sallmann report Judicial Conduct and Complaints System in Victoria, which was released in 2003 following public consultation.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Marilyn Warren, County Court Chief Judge Michael Rozenes and Chief Magistrate Ian Gray were not available for comment on the reforms.

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