A statement from the Honourable Chris Kourakis, Chief Justice of South Australia
The Heads of Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, District Court, Magistrates Court, Coroners Court and Youth Court have endorsed and adopted the Judicial Officer Appropriate Workplace Conduct Policy.
We are committed to providing a safe, respectful and supportive workplace for all and will not tolerate inappropriate workplace conduct by judicial officers.
The authority assumed with taking judicial office comes with a responsibility to lead by example in court, in our workplaces and in the community. This policy, adopted by resolution of the judicial officers of every court, is a continuing commitment to maintain these standards of behaviour in connection with our workplace.
South Australian Judicial Officers Appropriate Workplace Conduct Policy
- The Courts seek to foster a safe and supportive workplace for all and do not tolerate inappropriate workplace conduct by judicial officers. Judicial officers must not engage in inappropriate workplace conduct.
- Inappropriate conduct may occur in any workplace but is more likely to occur, and is more likely to have significant consequences, in workplaces where there are substantial power differences.
- This policy is to be read and understood in light of the CAA policies in relation to:
- Bullying, discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
- Sexual harassment and victimisation; and;
- Managing consensual personal relationships in the workplace;
(collectively, the CAA policies).
- Serving judicial officers are subject to the jurisdiction of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner. The CAA policies do not apply in their terms to judicial officers. However, judicial officers are committed to upholding and adhering to the standards of conduct as set forth in the CAA policies and in this document. That commitment will be confirmed annually or within three months of a substantive change to any of the CAA policies.
- Judicial officers will report the failures of others whose conduct in the workplace is on their observation inappropriate, in accordance with procedures promulgated in connection with this policy.
- For the purposes of this policy, a commissioner of the Environment, Resources and Development Court is a judicial officer.
What is inappropriate workplace conduct?
- As described more fully in the CAA policies, inappropriate workplace conduct may amount to unlawful conduct and includes:
- Bullying – repeated, unreasonable behaviour towards a person. It includes abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments; aggressive or intimidating conduct; belittling or humiliating comments; unjustified criticisms or complaints; intentionally setting unreasonable timelines; and ignoring or excluding a person from work-related activities.
- Discrimination – treating a person unfairly because of a particular characteristic or because they belong to a certain group.
- Harassment – conduct that is unwelcome, and that, in the circumstances, a reasonable person would anticipate would humiliate, offend or intimidate. While harassment generally involves a pattern of behaviour, it may include a one-off event. It may include sexual, racial or general workplace harassment which has the potential to create an intimidating, hostile, offensive or distressing work environment. It includes making offensive or insulting jokes, taunts or comments relating to a person’s gender, sexual orientation, race, culture, religion, disability, physical features or age.
- Sexual harassment – unwelcome sexual advance or any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to another person in circumstances in which a reasonable person would have anticipated the possibility that the other person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment may include unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature; comments, jokes or questions of a sexual nature (including where made in the presence of a person but directed at another person); sexually suggestive behaviour such as leering or staring or offensive gestures; touching, hugging or brushing up against a person; or sending or displaying sexually explicit images.
- Victimisation – treating or threatening to treat a person unfavourably because they have made, or it is anticipated they may make or assist someone to make, a complaint of bullying, discrimination or harassment (including sexual harassment), or associated with allegations of inappropriate workplace conduct.
- Inappropriate workplace conduct includes conduct directed towards other judicial officers, chambers staff, interns, registry or other CAA employees, lawyers, litigants, witnesses or other court users.
- It includes conduct that occurs outside the workplace but while undertaking work activities or at work related events, such as a work sanctioned social event or during travel for the purpose of work. It also extends to conduct that occurs anywhere outside the workplace which rests upon a power imbalance within the workplace.
Consensual workplace relationships
- Judicial Officers recognise the significance of any power imbalance in a personal relationship in the workplace, including by reason of seniority in position or age. Consequently, judicial officers also recognise that sexual relationships (whether casual or ongoing) between a judicial officer and another judicial officer, associate, member of chambers staff or other CAA employee may by reason of this power imbalance, be inappropriate.
- In the event of a sexual relationship between a judicial officer and another judicial officer, associate, member of chambers staff or other CAA employee, that sexual relationship must be disclosed by the judicial officer to the relevant Head of Jurisdiction, or if involving a Head of Jurisdiction, to the next most senior Head of Jurisdiction, so as to ensure that any workplace issues arising out of that relationship may be appropriately managed and that any workplace arrangements that may be considered appropriate may be put in place.
Dated: 19 August 2022
Adopted by Heads of Jurisdiction as follows:
Chief Justice Kourakis
Chief Judge Evans
Chief Magistrate Hribal
 Defined more fully in the CAA policy, ‘Bullying, discrimination, harassment and victimisation policy’, para 7.
 Defined more fully in the CAA policy, ‘Bullying, discrimination, harassment and victimisation policy’, para 8.
 Defined more fully in the CAA policy, ‘Bullying, discrimination, harassment and victimisation policy’, para 9.
 Defined more fully in the CAA policy, ‘Sexual harassment and victimisation policy’, para 7.
 Defined more fully in the CAA policies, ‘Bullying, discrimination, harassment and victimisation policy’, para 11 and ‘Sexual harassment and victimisation policy’, para 8.