The way in which judicial complaints are handled will be altered in order to promote greater transparency and accountability, the Federal Attorney-General has said.
Attorney-General Robert McClelland announced on Friday (18 March) that the reforms, which are largely based on those adopted by the New South Wales Judicial Commission, will include a mechanism for judicial complaints handling to assist the Chief Justices of the federal and family courts, and the Chief Federal Magistrate, to manage complaints that are referred to them.
"A key feature of the new process is the ability for heads of jurisdiction to establish a Conduct Committee to investigate a complaint and provide a report on the issue," McClelland said.
"Judicial independence and impartiality are vital to the smooth administration of justice. A transparent, impartial and accountable system of judicial complaints handling will strengthen public confidence in the federal judiciary."
The government also announced its plans to re-introduce the Parliamentary (Judicial Misbehaviour or Incapacity) Commission Bill into parliament.
"Parliamentary consideration of removal of a judge from office will only be triggered in the rarest of circumstances," McClelland said.
"However, it is important that a clear framework is in place if such an extraordinary circumstance were to arise."
The new mechanism for judicial complaints handling will not apply to the High Court.