The Attorney-General of Australia, the Hon Christian Porter MP, has issued terms of reference for two Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiries.
The first Inquiry topic is judicial impartiality and the second is a review of the legislative framework for corporations and financial services regulation.
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:
- actual or apprehended bias relating to judicial decision-making;
- clarity to decision-makers, the legal profession and the community about how to manage potential conflicts and perceptions of partiality; and
- mechanisms for raising allegations of actual or apprehended bias.
The ALRC has been asked to inquire into the potential simplification of laws that regulate financial services in Australia.
The Inquiry is part of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry released in February 2019.
Three sub-topics are specifically outlined, each of which is to be the subject of an interim report by the ALRC, prior to release of the consolidated Final Report:
- the appropriate use of definitions in corporations and financial services legislation;
- the regulatory design and the hierarchy of primary law provisions, regulations, class orders, and standards; and
- potential reframing or restructuring of Chapter 7 of the Corporations Act.
The final report and recommendations for the Judicial Impartiality Inquiry are due to be provided to the Attorney-General by 30 September 2021.
The ALRC will deliver three interim reports on the Review of Corporations and Financial Services Regulation by November 2021, September 2022, and August 2023 respectively, with the final report and recommendations due by 30 November 2023.