Inquiries About Reserved Decisions and Complaints about Judges

Inquiries about reserved decisions

The Supreme Court aims to deliver each judgment within three months from the date on which the judgment was reserved, unless the presiding judge has indicated otherwise.  For interlocutory matters or urgent matters, the appropriate time frame may be less than three months.

If a practitioner wishes to inquire about a delay in the delivery of a reserved judgment in a case in which he or she is acting, the practitioner may write to the President of the ACT Bar Association or ACT Law Society.  If it appears to the relevant President that the judgment has been outstanding for at least three months or is required urgently, the President will write to the Registrar.  The Registrar will refer the inquiry to the Chief Justice without disclosing the identity of the practitioner who has made the inquiry. The Chief Justice will inform the Registrar of the date when it is anticipated that the reserved judgment will be delivered.  The Registrar will write to the inquiring legal practitioner and the other party to the litigation (or their legal representative) advising them of the anticipated date.

If an unrepresented litigant is concerned about a delay in the delivery of a reserved judgment in a case in which he or she is a party, the litigant may write directly to the Registrar. The Registrar will refer the inquiry to the Chief Justice without disclosing the identity of the inquirer. The Chief Justice will inform the Registrar of the date when it is anticipated that the reserved judgment will be delivered. The Registrar will write to the inquirer and the other party to the litigation (or their legal representative) advising them of the anticipated date.

A practitioner or litigant who wishes to make a complaint (not merely an inquiry) about a reserved judgment should follow the complaint procedure set out below.

Complaints about the behavior of judges

A litigant, practitioner or other person who wishes to complain about the behaviour or physical or mental capacity of a current judge should make a written complaint to the Judicial Council or the Attorney-General (who will refer the complaint to the Judicial Council).   The complaint should be addressed to:

Principal Officer

ACT Judicial Council 
GPO Box 1884 
Canberra ACT 2601

Principal.Officer@ACTJudicialCouncil.org.au

Phone: 02 62760193

A complaint must include:

  • the complainant’s name and address
  • the name of the Judge
  • the relevant court date and the full particulars of the complaint

The Judge who is the subject of the complaint and the Chief Justice will be told about the complaint and any relevant details.

The Judicial Council may dismiss the complaint (e.g. if it is frivolous), refer it to the Chief Justice to be dealt with (e.g. if it is a relatively minor complaint) or conduct a more extensive examination of the complaint. If, after conducting an examination, the Judicial Council considers that it may justify the judge being removed from office, the Judicial Council will recommend the appointment of a commission to examine the complaint and report to the Attorney-General.

Further information about making a complaint to the ACT Judicial Council is available on the ACT Judicial Council website.

Further information on complaints about the conduct of a judicial officer can be found at section 5.2 of The Courts and Tribunal Complaints and Feedback Policy.