The Security of Tenure of Australian Magistrates
29 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2015
Date Written: 2006
Security of judicial tenure is essential for the independence and impartiality of Australia’s courts. Although magistrates and their courts deal with over 90 percent of all civil and criminal matters resolved in Australian courts, the tenure of magistrates is not protected to the same extent or in the same ways as the tenure of judges of the higher courts. This disparity is especially marked in the processes and criteria for removal and suspension from office and in the lack of salary guarantees. Lesser protection for the magistracy is not justified by any relevant distinction between the courts. Those who appear before magistrates are entitled to a judicial officer who is accorded at least the same degree of independence — protected by appropriate mechanisms — as other courts.
Keywords: Judiciary, magistrates, judges, courts, Australia, security of tenure, judicial independence, judicial qualifications, salary of judges, removal of judges, lower courts
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