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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 2653 ..


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (10.39): Mr Deputy Speaker, I present the Supreme Court (Amendment) Bill (No. 3) 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill deals with two issues - the remuneration, allowances and entitlements of judges; and the capacity of the Supreme Court to declare a person to be a vexatious litigant. The Supreme Court Act does not provide for the setting of the remuneration, allowances and entitlements of resident judges. A resident judge is one whose primary or sole responsibility is to constitute the Supreme Court. Prior to the transfer of administrative responsibility for the court from the Commonwealth to the ACT, Supreme Court judges were appointed to both the Supreme and Federal courts and received their terms and conditions in their latter capacity. Appointment to the Federal Court was made in order to give that court an increased presence in the Territory and because the Federal Court is the relevant appeal court in respect of the Supreme Court. It is unlikely that future appointees to the Supreme Court will be appointed by the Commonwealth to the Federal Court. Indeed, that was the experience in September last year when the Territory appointed a resident judge for the first time since assuming responsibility for the Supreme Court.

It is inappropriate that resident judges performing similar functions should be engaged under different terms and conditions. Those resident judges who are also Federal Court judges receive the remuneration, allowances and entitlements of a Federal Court judge. This Bill will provide that any resident judge appointed while another resident judge holds a commission as a Federal Court judge will be entitled to the same remuneration, allowances and entitlements to which a judge of the Federal Court is, from time to time, entitled.

This approach will tie the benefits received by Supreme Court resident judges to those applicable to judges in another jurisdiction, that of the Commonwealth. The Government has recognised that this nexus may not continue to be appropriate once there are no Supreme Court judges holding Federal Court commissions by limiting the application of the relevant provisions of the Bill. They will cease to apply to appointments made after the last resident judge holding a Federal Court commission has left the court, at which time the Remuneration Tribunal will have jurisdiction to make relevant determinations unless the government of the day further legislates to deal with this issue.

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