Human Rights Council - 26th Regular Session
Clustered Interactive dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants
13 June 2014
Australia thanks the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers and the Special Rapporteur on Migrants for their reports. Australia will today address the report on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.
Australia believes that it is incumbent upon States to ensure the independence of judges and lawyers.
The independence of the courts and their separation from the legislative and executive arms of government is of great importance in Australia. Judicial independence is guaranteed under the Australian Constitution. It is critical to our justice system that judges, in interpreting and applying the law, act independently. This ensures that disputes, between people or between people and governments, are resolved impartially by judges who are not subject to improper control or pressure, either private or by government.
The Australian legal system is based upon the concept of the Rule of Law. This dictates that legal professionals have a fundamental duty to the court, and to the administration of justice. The Rule of Law facilitates confidence in the legal profession and judicial system and provides for independence, impartiality, openness and transparency. An independent and high calibre judiciary is also a key precondition for economic growth.
Key mechanisms which ensure judicial independence and impartiality in Australian courts include appeals processes, open courts, procedural fairness and the provision of reasons for decisions by courts. Other mechanisms also include the recusal process to allow judges to excuse themselves from a particular matter, publicly available complaints mechanisms and public and media scrutiny.
We would appreciate the views of the Special Rapporteur on what steps States should take to ensure judicial accountability while maintaining separation from the legislative and executive arms of government.