Guidelines for the appointment of retired acting Judges in the District Court published

  • Christopher Finlayson

Guidelines on the appointment of retired acting Judges have been agreed with the Chief District Court Judge, Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson announced today.

The guidelines set out the principles governing the appointment of retired acting Judges, and outline the circumstances where the appointment of an acting Judge may be necessary.

Retired Judges may be appointed as acting Judges to sit in the District Court for a specified period of time.

The guiding principles are that the appointment of acting Judges should not compromise judicial independence, and that acting Judges should not be used as a means of permanently increasing the level of judicial resource, thereby reducing the number of permanent judges required.

“As Attorney-General, when additional judicial resource is required, my priority has been increasing the number of permanent judges in the District Court,” Mr Finlayson said. “These new guidelines acknowledge  that acting Judges may be required to cover certain temporary circumstances affecting judicial resources. However, in circumstances of long-term need, the preference should be that permanent judges are appointed. This supports judicial independence.”

“The courts’ workload will always vary over time,” he said. “The judiciary’s heads of bench and government work together to ensure that these variations can be managed. These guidelines state that I will meet with the Chief District Court Judge annually, or as required by unforeseen events, to make decisions on whether acting warrants are necessary in light of the workloads of the courts.”

The guidelines can be seen here: