Criminal Law

By Satomi Hamon


New avenue for complaint against ACT Judges and Magistrates

Last Wednesday, Canberra welcomed the establishment of a Judicial Council which has the powers to receive, report and investigate minor complaints (ones that don’t merit consideration of removal of a judicial officer from office) against the ACT’s judges and magistrates – and to take appropriate action to address the complaints.

Before the Council was established, the only formal mechanism for dealing with complaints was 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,” said former Attorney-General Simon Corbell, when the Judicial Complaints Bill passed the Legislative Assembly in early 2015.

“The ACT community deserves a justice system which is accountable, responsive and effective,” Mr Corbell said.

Current Attorney-General, Gordon Ramsay, said the ACT’s new Judicial Council would boost transparency and accountability, while maintaining judicial independence and promoting community confidence in the justice system.

The Judicial Council is made up of Chief Justice Helen Murrell, Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker, barrister Bryan Meagher, SC, and Diane Collins.

“Each of the four members of the Council has provided outstanding service to the ACT in the past, and will continue to do so in these roles.” Mr Ramsay said.

“The establishment of the Judicial Council will give people in the ACT confidence that any complaints about judicial officers are handled fairly and efficiently.”

If you would like to speak to someone regarding the Judicial Council, you can call 02 6276 0193 or email