Consultation Documentation


Judicial Impartiality: Consultation Paper (CP 1, 2021)

The ALRC seeks stakeholder submissions on 25 questions and reform proposals in relation to judicial impartiality and the law on bias. The Terms of Reference for this Inquiry ask the ALRC to consider whether: the law about actual or apprehended bias relating to judicial decision-making is sufficient and appropriate to maintain public confidence in the

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The Fair-Minded Observer and its Critics (JI7)

This paper considers the test used to decide when a judge will be disqualified from hearing a case because there is a risk that people might think they might be biased. The notion of judicial impartiality is so central to confidence in the administration of justice that the law has developed this mechanism — disqualification

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Cognitive and Social Biases in Judicial Decision-Making (JI6)

This paper aims to shed light on the psychology behind the traditionally ‘opaque exercise of judging’.  First, the paper explains how heuristics, attitudes, and stereotypes may influence (and bias) human decision-making. It then discusses research that has found that judges are likely to be vulnerable to many of the ordinary cognitive and social biases that

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Ethics, Professional Development, and Accountability (JI5)

This background paper briefly examines the relationship between judicial ethics, professional development, impartiality, and accountability. It then provides a survey of existing ethical infrastructure, professional development standards, and mechanisms to respond to judicial misconduct and incapacity relating to the federal judiciary. This is one in a series of background papers produced by the Australian Law Reform Commission

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Conceptions of Judicial Impartiality in Theory and Practice (JI4)

This background paper provides an overview of scholarship and commentary on judicial impartiality, summarising the common conceptual understandings of judicial impartiality and the interactions of these conceptions with the practical exercise of judgecraft in Australia. It forms the basis for understanding some of the underlying tensions raised in a series of background papers that explore

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The Federal Judiciary – the Inquiry in Context (JI3)

This background paper provides an overview of the composition of the federal judiciary; the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth courts; the workload of those courts; and the frequency of complaints against judicial officers (noting that such complaints may not necessarily be in relation to an allegation of impartiality or bias). It also gives a preliminary analysis

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Recusal and self-disqualification (JI2)

This background paper is focused on the practical matter of how courts manage claims (and the potential for claims) by litigants that the judicial officer deciding their matter is, or might appear to be, biased. This is one in a series of background papers produced by the Australian Law Reform Commission as part of its Review

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The Law on Judicial Bias: A Primer (JI1)

This background paper provides an introductory summary and overview of key aspects of the law on judicial bias as it relates to the Australian federal judiciary. This is one in a series of background papers produced by the Australian Law Reform Commission as part of its Review of Judicial Impartiality. In April 2021, the ALRC will

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Discussion Paper 87

The ALRC seeks stakeholder submissions on 23 proposals for reform to the Commonwealth’s corporate criminal law regime, and asks 11 questions on particular areas of reform. The Discussion Paper addresses a number of aspects of corporate criminal liability, including:
• the principled division between criminal offences and civil penalty provisions;
• the method for attributing criminal liability to corporations;
• individual liability for corporate offences;
• deferred prosecution agreements;
• penalties and the sentencing process;
• illegal phoenix activity (deliberate liquidation with the intent to avoid creditors and continue operations through a new entity); and
• the implications of the transnational nature of business and extraterritorial offences.

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Thinking big: The Australian Constitution as a law reform project

As part of the ALRC’s Where next for law reform? project the ALRC is encouraging Australians to think big. Arguably the most significant law reform initiative would be to revise the constitution. We have prepared a short paper to start the conversation.

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