Suggested Criteria for Judicial Appointments
The topic of drafting of guidelines or criteria for appointment of judicial officers has been under consideration by the AIJA for a number of years.
Professor Greg Reinhardt, Executive Director of the AIJA, wrote to heads of jurisdiction in June 2013 in relation to the matter and again in March 2014 noting that there had been renewed interest by the Judicial Conference of Australia (JCA) in reporting on the current processes for judicial appointment in each Australian jurisdiction. At a meeting of the AIJA Council, it was agreed that the AIJA would cooperate, to the extent that it was possible to do so, with the Judicial Conference in relation to the work it was carrying out.
As a result of subsequent discussions with the JCA, it was agreed that the AIJA would appoint a Sub-committee of its Project and Research Committee to prepare draft criteria which might be considered in making judicial appointments. Professor Reinhardt wrote to heads of jurisdiction again in October 2014 with a draft document of suggested criteria for judicial appointment.
Subsequently, the document has been developed. It draws on input from a number of experienced, eminent people and upon criteria or guidelines in other jurisdictions.
A copy of the document has been sent to Attorneys-General and Shadow Attorneys-General emphasising that the document is not intended to be prescriptive and has simply been drafted to provide some assistance in relation to the types of matters which might be taken into account in relation to appointment of judicial officers and to inform the public. The JCA has recently finalised its report on the various processes of appointment.
A copy of the final form of the document has also been sent to heads of jurisdiction.
The AIJA has resolved to publish the document on its website and to make it available more generally as the question of judicial appointment is no doubt a matter which is of interest to all involved in the administration of justice and the public more generally.