Can I make a complaint?
If you have not been declared a vexatious litigant you can make a complaint.
How can I make a complaint?
You must make your complaint in writing.
If you would like to make a public interest disclosure, please complete the hardcopy form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens when I make a complaint?
When we receive your complaint we will conduct a preliminary examination.
During the preliminary examination we might contact you to clarify issues or provide further information and documentation. In certain circumstances we may need to contact other agencies or persons to make enquiries in respect to work undertaken by them regarding your complaint.
After conducting a preliminary examination the Commissioner decides how to deal with your complaint.
If the Commissioner thinks there might be corruption they will refer your complaint to the Office for Public Integrity.
If your complaint does not raise an issue of corruption, the Commissioner could refer your complaint to the relevant jurisdictional head. In this case the jurisdictional head would be required to report back to the Commissioner advising him of the action taken in relation to your complaint.
Alternatively, the Commissioner could recommend that the Attorney-General appoint a judicial conduct panel to inquire into and report on the issues arising from your complaint. The Commissioner could only make that recommendation if he thought an inquiry into the conduct was necessary or justified and that if the conduct was established it may warrant consideration of removal of the judicial officer.
In the most serious of cases, the Commissioner could make a report directly to Parliament.
In some instances following a preliminary examination, no action will be taken. It might be that the Commissioner is obliged to dismiss your complaint in accordance with the Judicial Conduct Commissioner Act 2015 (JCC Act) or that he is satisfied that further consideration of your complaint would in all of the circumstances be unjustified.
The Commissioner must dismiss a complaint in certain circumstances, such as where the complaint:
- is not within the Commissioner’s jurisdiction
- has no bearing on judicial functions or duties
- has been made for an improper purpose or is frivolous or vexatious
- is about a judicial decision or function that could be dealt with by an appeal or judicial review
- is about a person who is no longer a judicial officer; or
- has previously been considered by the Commissioner and no further action was taken.
The Commissioner may also dismiss the complaint if it was not made in accordance with the JCC Act.
Offences, penalties and confidentiality
It is an offence to make a complaint knowing that there are no grounds for making the complaint. It is also an offence to make a statement to the Commissioner that is false or misleading in a material particular.
The JCC Act contains strict confidentiality obligations.
If information has been provided by us for the purposes of dealing with a complaint, it is an offence for the person who received the information to use it for any other purpose.
The Commissioner can prohibit the publication of information about complaints. Publication can take the form of placing information on social media or publishing in the newspaper, television or radio. It is an offence to breach a prohibition on publication.