Review of Judicial Impartiality

The ALRC has been asked to undertake a review of the laws relating to impartiality and bias as they apply to the federal judiciary.  These laws are important to ensure that justice is both done and seen to be done in Commonwealth courts and tribunals.

The Terms of Reference direct the ALRC to consider in particular:

  • whether the law about actual or apprehended bias relating to judicial decision-making is appropriate and sufficient to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice;
  • whether the law provides enough clarity to decision-makers, the legal profession and the community about how to manage potential conflicts and perceptions of partiality; and
  • whether current mechanisms for raising allegations of actual or apprehended bias, and deciding those allegations, are sufficient and appropriate (including in relation to review and appeal mechanisms).

The Inquiry will consider whether, and if so what, reforms to the laws on judicial impartiality and bias may be necessary or desirable.

In undertaking the Inquiry, the ALRC will consult widely with the legal profession, courts, tribunals and the broader community. A consultation paper will be released in April 2021, and a formal call for submissions will be made at that time.

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