units

LAW4523E

Faculty of Law

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Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

LevelUndergraduate
FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedPrato Term 2 2010 (Day)

Synopsis

The contents of the unit will be varied depending on topical issues pertaining to the judiciary as they arise from time to time. But it would include many if not all of the following:

  1. The Judiciary as a branch of government. This will entail an exploration of the concept of judicial independence and its interrelationship with the doctrine of separation of powers. It will focus on the standards for judicial independence as prescribed by international instruments. The relationship with other branches of government will be analysed.
  2. Appointment of Judges and Conditions of Service This topic will examine on a comparative basis judicial appointment processes and the criteria for judicial appointment. The implications of appointing acting, reserve and part-time judges, the conditions of service, judicial education and disputes about entitlements to hold and exercise judicial office.
  3. Removal, Suspension and Discipline of Judges What constitutes 'judicial misbehaviour'? A study of removal mechanisms from various jurisdictions and the grounds for removal from judicial office. The constitutional dimensions of suspension of judges. Mechanisms to deal with complaints against judges with particular attention to the Judicial Officers Act 1986 (NSW) and mechanisms from other democratic countries.
  4. Judicial Officers and the Rule Against Bias Disqualification of judges and recusals. Public Interest and Private Interest and Codes of Ethics. The involvement of judges in extra-curial activities will be considered, especially conducting commissions and committees of inquiry.
  5. Modes of Protecting the Judicial Institution A general consideration of contempt of court and attacks on the judiciary. Criticism of the judiciary and the proper limits. Offences relating to the administration of justice. The scope of judicial immunities. Parliamentary conventions relating to the judiciary.
  6. Judicial Accountability The concept of accountability. Meaning of 'open' court. A duty to give reasons; appeals and reviews. The relationship between the courts and the media. Judicial involvement in public controversies.

Objectives

On completion of this unit students should

  1. have developed an in-depth understanding of the fundamental notions of judicial independence and judicial accountability, with particular reference to international guidelines and norms;
  2. have acquired an appreciation of the contemporary challenges relating to the Australian judiciary from a comparative perspective;
  3. be able to evaluate proposals to reform the judicial institution, drawing on lessons from some other jurisdictions.

Assessment

3 hour written examination plus 30 mins reading and noting time (100%)

Chief examiner(s)

Professor HP Lee

Contact hours

Average number of 6 hours of contact hours per week over the first 3 weeks and average of 9 hours of contact hours per week over two weeks. Outside of contact hours students are expected to spend in total around 106 hours in private study, including preparation for class, reading and revision for the exam. An additional 9 hours private study/preparation and research work for each three hours seminar are expected.

Prerequisites

LAW1101 Introduction to Legal Reasoning, LAW1102 Law in Society OR LAW1104 Research and Writing or equivalent introductory units in legal reasoning and research and writing skills offered at other law schools

Prohibitions

LAW5423