NEW BODY TO INVESTIGATE JUDICIAL COMPLAINTS

A new independent body established by the Andrews Labor Government to investigate complaints and concerns about the conduct of judicial officers and VCAT members began work today.

The Judicial Commission allows members of the public or the legal profession to make complaints about a range of issues, including excessive delays in delivering judgments, courtroom behaviour, and judicial health issues.

In a Victorian first, the Commission has the authority to hear complaints about judicial officers – including judges, magistrates, judicial registrars and members of the Victorian Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

The most serious complaints will be referred to a specially convened Investigating Panel, with powers to compel witnesses to attend and produce documents, and make orders that a judicial officer undergo a medical examination.

Judges facing serious allegations can also be stood down from some or all of their duties while an investigation is underway.

The Board of the Commission includes the heads of jurisdiction of each of the state’s courts and VCAT, and four eminent Victorians – Ms Claire Keating, Mr Graham Atkinson, Ms Helen Silver and Mr Ross Herron.

Information about how to make a complaint to the Commission is available at judicialcommission.vic.gov.au

Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula

“The Government established the Judicial Commission to preserve the integrity and independence of our judiciary, and to provide Victorians with a fair and accessible process for raising complaints about the judiciary.”

“The new Commission gives Victorians an independent, modern and transparent system for handling complaints for the first time.”

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