Faculty of Law

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Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedClayton Summer semester B 2011 (Day)


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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


On completion of this unit students should

  • have developed an in-depth understanding of the fundamental notions of judicial independence and judicial accountability, with particular reference to international guidelines and norms
  • have acquired an appreciation of the contemporary challenges relating to the Australian judiciary from a comparative perspective
  • be able to evaluate critically the exercise of judicial power, particularly in times of crisis
  • be able to evaluate proposals to reform the judicial institution.


Research paper (2000 words): 40% and 2 hour written examination (plus 30 mins reading and noting time): 60% OR examination 3 hours (plus 30 mins reading and noting time): 100%

Chief examiner(s)

Professor HP Lee

Contact hours

Average number of three hours of contact hours per week over 13 weeks. An additional nine hours private study/preparation and research work per week.


LAW1101 and LAW1102 OR LAW1104