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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 27 November 2014) . . Page.. 4152 ..

The amendments require the council to give a copy of a report of its findings to the judicial officer who is the subject of the complaint and to the Attorney-General. The council may also give a copy of the report to the complainant. If a complaint is substantiated, the council may make recommendations to the Attorney-General, the executive or the head of jurisdiction on what action should be taken in relation to the judicial officer complained about.

The amendments set out procedural requirements for the council, including determination of questions before the council, appointment of a lawyer to assist the council, protections and immunities for council members and disclosure of information. In addition, if the council forms the opinion that the judicial officer may be physically or mentally unfit to perform the functions of their office it may ask the officer to undergo a specified medical examination.

The amendments give the council power to issue a subpoena to require a person to appear at a hearing to give evidence or produce a document or thing relevant to the hearing. The council must report annually to the Attorney-General, who must table the report in the Legislative Assembly as soon as practicable after receiving it.

The bill also makes consequential amendments to other acts. These include amendments to the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1989, to exclude decisions of the judicial council from judicial review; the Information Privacy Act 2014, to place the judicial council in the same position as a judicial commission, that is, to exempt it from the application of the Information Privacy Act; the Freedom of Information Act 1989, to place the judicial council in the same position as a judicial commission, that is, not a prescribed authority for the FOI Act; and the Ombudsman Act 1989, to prevent the Ombudsman from investigating administrative action taken by the judicial council.

These changes will introduce a formal, transparent accountability measure for the ACT’s judicial officers and will help promote ongoing community confidence in our judicial system. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.

Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2014

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Capital Metro) (10.17): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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