Federal Circuit Court of Australia and new judicial complaints handling process commence

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC today welcomed the renaming of the Federal Magistrates Court as the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and improved processes for the handling of complaints about federal judicial officers.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC today welcomed the renaming of the Federal Magistrates Court as the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and improved processes for the handling of complaints about federal judicial officers.

"The Court’s new name demonstrates the important service the Court provides to rural and regional communities through its program of regular court circuits,” said Mr Dreyfus.

“Since its commencement, the Federal Magistrates Court has delivered accessible, fast and inexpensive justice services for families and other federal litigants. The Court’s important role in the federal judicial system will continue under this new name.

“The new title of Judge also better reflects the status of this court, created under Chapter III of the Australian Constitution.”

The Courts Legislation Amendment (Judicial Complaints) Act 2012 and Judicial Misbehaviour and Incapacity (Parliamentary Commissions) Act 2012 also both commenced operation today.

“This new complaints framework will ensure complaints against federal judicial officers are handled fairly and transparently while maintaining the constitutional independence of the judiciary,” said Mr Dreyfus.

“It will also keep politics out of the process in the event of serious allegations against a sitting judge that could warrant his or her dismissal.”

These judicial reforms form part the Government’s broader court reform agenda, including:

  • Expanding the diversity of judicial appointments
  • Introducing legislation to establish the Military Court of Australia, and
  • Establishing a new court security framework to assist the federal courts to ensure the safety of all court users.

“The Government has injected $38 million over four years to put our courts on a firmer financial footing and ensure they deliver key services, including regional circuit work which is vital for disadvantaged litigants, small businesses and families,” said Mr Dreyfus.

“This Government is delivering greater certainty and stability for the federal courts, clarity for court users and enhanced complaints processes to strengthen public confidence in the judiciary.”