AIJA Matters - March 2023
The office of the AIJA is located on the traditional lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to the Gadigal elders past and present, to all the Gadigal people and to all First Nations peoples
Message from the President
Welcome to AIJA Matters, our bi-monthly update for AIJA members.
Congratulations to the AIJA members who were recognised in this year’s Australia Day Honours List. The Hon. James Allsop was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for eminent service to the judiciary and to the law, to organisational and technological reform, to legal education and to insolvency law. The Hon. Pamela Tate was appointed as Member the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the judiciary, to the law and to legal education.
The AIJA has had a very productive start to the year. Our Education Committee, Research Committee, and Membership and Communication Committees have all met to discuss their plans for 2023. Excitingly, this will include the AIJA Oration which will be held on 23 June in Brisbane.
The Board and Council also met in February. Before its meeting, the AIJA Council took the long-awaited opportunity to thank Greg Reinhardt AM in person at a dinner in Melbourne. Greg was the AIJA Executive Director from 1997-2020, was awarded AIJA Life Membership in 2017 and is the editor of the Journal of Judicial Administration.
In a first for the AIJA, we are publishing a podcast that is based on the 2022 publication of AI Decision-Making and the Courts – A Guide for Judges, Tribunal Members and Court Administrators. The podcast is presented by Professor Lyria Bennett Moses and Professor Michael Legg. You can read more about it here or listen to the podcast here.
In other news, we have made significant progress on the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the Legal Systems Bench Book with our project partner, Melbourne Law School. As a readily available online resource, the bench book will include useful and up-to-date information for stakeholders, especially lawyers and judicial officers, to help develop greater cultural competency throughout the system. It will include extracts of important cases, summaries and links to relevant research, and information to challenge any myths, stereotypes and biases that may be held by practitioners and members of the judiciary. You can read about our progress on this important project here.
I am pleased to report that the AIJA is now registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and complies with its requirements. For an update on other governance matters, you can read a copy of our 2021-2022 Annual Report here.
I would also like to congratulate AIJA Council Member Justice David Boddice who will be appointed to the Queensland Court of Appeal. We include more information about his appointment later in this update.
I hope you enjoy this issue of AIJA Matters.
The Honourable Justice Jenny Blokland
President, The Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration
Excellence in Focus
We are making excellent progress on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the Legal System Bench Book (the bench book), a joint project between AIJA and Melbourne Law School that has been funded by the Commonwealth. The work is being undertaken by the project team at Melbourne University’s Indigenous Law and Justice Hub (the Hub) and by the AIJA.
The project team has developed a consultation plan, which will continue to develop and change as the project grows and more specialists in particular areas need to be consulted. The team has also completed more than 70 hours of consultation with stakeholders, proposed the chapter structure and developed drafts for several sections.
We have expanded our Advisory Committee for the project with new members: the Hon. Justice Lincoln Crowley (Supreme Court of Queensland) and the Hon. Judge Nathan Jarro (District Court of Queensland). They join Council members: Tony McAvoy SC, Jenny Blokland (President, AIJA), Justice Malcolm Blue (Supreme Court of South Australia), Justice Murray Aldridge (Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia), Justice Dina Yehia (Supreme Court of NSW), Magistrate Rose Falla (Court Services Victoria and Member of the AIJA Indigenous Justice Committee), Magistrate Jacqueline Payne (Queensland Magistrates Court and Member of the AIJA Indigenous Justice Committee), Ben Grimes (lawyer and linguist specialising in communication issues in the legal system and cross-cultural legal education), and Derek Hunt (Accredited Interpreter, Batchelor Institute).
We also received the next tranche of funding after submitting an updated Activity Work Plan to the Attorney General’s Department in late January.
We will continue to provide updates on this important project as we progress it.
The Honourable Chief Justice James Allsop AC
Federal Court of Australia
Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia The Hon. James Allsop was awarded a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for eminent service to the judiciary and to the law, to organisational and technological reform, to legal education and to insolvency law. This award follows his 2013 appointment as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to the judiciary and the law.
The Chief Justice has had an extraordinary career, having been appointed as a QC in 1998, as a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia (2001-2008), as an additional Justice of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory (2003-2008) and President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal (2008). He assumed office as Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia in 2013.
The Chief Justice has been a member of the AIJA for more than 20 years.
The Honourable Pamela Tate AM KC
The Hon. Pamela Tate was appointed as a Member the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the judiciary, to the law and to legal education.
Pamela is an adjunct professor of law at Monash University. She is a former judge of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria (2010-2021) and also served as the Solicitor-General of Victoria (2003-2010).
She has been a member of the AIJA for 20 years.
Justice Boddice appointed to Court of Appeal
Congratulations to AIJA Council Member the Hon. Justice David Boddice on the announcement of his appointment to the Queensland Court of Appeal. Justice Boddice has served on the Supreme Court bench for close to 13 years and, since 2020, was also the Southern Region Judge of the Land Appeal Court.
AI decision-making podcast
In a first for the AIJA, we are publishing a podcast based on the 2022 publication of AI Decision-Making and the Courts – A Guide for Judges, Tribunal Members and Court Administrators. The guide was a joint research project with UNSW Faculty of Law and Justice through the Allens Hub for Technology Law and Innovation and the Law Society of NSW Future of Law and Innovation in the Profession (FLIP) research stream.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly being introduced into the courts across all jurisdictions. As AI tools are likely to be increasingly deployed, it is important for the judiciary, tribunal members and court administrators to understand the challenges and opportunities they present.
In this podcast, two of the report’s authors discuss an overview of various AI and decision-making tools and raise the possible challenges and opportunities they present for our courts and tribunals. You can listen to the podcast, presented by Professor Lyria Bennett Moses and Professor Michael Legg, here.
Judicial gender statistics report discussion paper
The AIJA has published judicial gender statistics for over 20 years and these statistics have been used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Given increasing interest in diversity within the judiciary, the AIJA Research Committee has commissioned a discussion paper from two eminently qualified academics to canvas various issues regarding the gender statistics report, including: the data that is collected; the sources of the data; what bodies and positions should be included; what other characteristics might also be included; and how frequently the data should be collected, and at what point in time.
The AIJA recognises that the collection of the data, including issues of privacy, terminology and methodology, is quite complex and is keen to explore the issues with experts.
Update to Guide to Judicial Conduct (Third Edition)
In October 2022, the Council of Chief Justices adopted a revision of Chapter 7 of the ‘Guide to Judicial Conduct’ (Third edition) which the Institute publishes for the Council. The revision was settled after consultation with the Australian Judicial Officers Association and with assistance from the Honourable Thomas Bathurst AC KC. The revised version is available on the AIJA’s website here.
AIJA Indigenous Youth Justice Conference on demand
The AIJA, in collaboration with the Law Society of New South Wales, presented the 2022 AIJA Indigenous Youth Justice Conference in Sydney on 29-30 October 2022.
The conference is now available on demand on the AIJA website. Members of the AIJA are offered a special discounted rate of $249 (incl GST) to access more than 14 hours of on-demand content from across 15 conference sessions.
The conference examined many complex issues associated with Indigenous youth justice to promote meaningful discussion about ways to improve the situation. We were guided by the conference’s expert presenters, including Elders, community leaders, medical specialists and academics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the judiciary and legal profession. Speakers included:
• The Honourable Chansey Paech, MLA, Attorney General of the Northern Territory
• The Honourable Shane Rattenbury, Attorney General of the ACT
• The Honourable Justice Lincoln Crowley, Supreme Court of Queensland
• Debbie Kilroy OAM, Sisters Inside
• His Honour Chief Judge Heemi Taumaunu, District Court of New Zealand, and
• Gabrielle Bashir SC, President, NSW Bar Association.
AIJA Court Librarians’ Conference, 23-24 March 2023
The 2023 AIJA Court Librarians’ Conference will be held in Sydney on Friday 24 March at the Federal Court of Australia. The Welcome Reception is being held the night before at the Law Society of NSW.
The conference will bring together guests from throughout Australia and New Zealand and will focus on a variety of topics including unreported judgments, copyright in judgments, scholarship for the legal community, publishing partnerships and recent Australian innovations, Court library guidelines and more.
You can register for the conference here or view the program here.
AIJA Oration, 23 June 2023
The AIJA Oration will be held on Friday 23 June 2023 in the Banco Court at the Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law complex in Brisbane. We will provide more information about this event in our next update.
Conference to celebrate anniversaries for administration of justice in Australia,
8 – 10 September 2023
The AIJA, the Australian Academy of Law and the Australian Law Journal are presenting a two and a half day joint event to mark important national legal bicentenaries. “Enduring courts in changing times”, will be held on Friday 8 – Sunday 10 September 2023. Those legal bicentenaries are, for New South Wales, the Third Charter of Justice promulgated on 13 October 1823 establishing the Supreme Court and, for Tasmania, the first sitting of the Supreme Court of Van Diemen’s Land on 10 May 1824.
The conference will be held in New South Wales and Tasmania. The program is currently being confirmed and further details will be available shortly.
In this section of AIJA Matters, we curate highlights of recent judicial administration news and insights from local and global sources.
Ending the use of transcripts
The Research Hub for Language in Forensic Evidence (Melbourne Law School) and Deakin University recently ran a workshop on “Ending the use of transcripts by police ‘ad hoc experts’ as assistance to jurors’ perception of indistinct forensic audio”. The workshop included experts in law, linguistics and forensic science. The Research Hub for Language in Forensic Evidence aims to assist the courts in ensuring that language and speech used in forensic evidence is managed in the best interests of justice and fairness. More information on its work can be found here.
Judicial Commission of NSW Bench Book updates
The Judicial Commission of NSW has recently updated its Civil Trials Bench Book, Criminal Trials Bench Book and Children’s Court Resource Handbook. For more information visit the Judicial Commission’s website.