17 November 2022

Judicial Officers are subject to the laws and standards of acceptable behaviour which are equally applicable to all.  Everyone has a right to a safe workplace.  Power imbalances must be guarded against.  Bullying, harassment, discrimination or victimisation of any kind cannot be tolerated.  Workplace cultures which support employees to speak up if they experience or witness harassment of any sort must be fostered.

The Guide to Judicial Conduct approved by the Council of Australian and New Zealand Chief Justices provides:

Judges should remember that many members of the public regard judges as a privileged group because of their remuneration and entitlements, and because of the nature of the judicial office.  They are likely to expect that a judge will be especially vigilant in observing appropriate standards of conduct, both publicly and privately.

Judges must conform to the standard of conduct required by law and expected by the community.  They must treat others with civility and respect in their public life, social life and working relationships.  It goes without saying that Judges must not engage in discrimination or harassment (including sexual harassment) or bullying.  In relation to these matters, Judges must be particularly conscious of the effect of the imbalance of power as between themselves and others, especially their Chambers staff, Court staff and junior lawyers.

The judicial officers of the Supreme Court, District Court, Environment, Resources and Development Court, Magistrates Court, Coroners Court and Youth Court have adopted a Judicial Officer Appropriate Workplace Conduct Policy which is periodically reviewed.

Judicial officers have, and will continue to undertake, programs about harassment, including sexual harassment, to understand the nature, drivers and impacts of such behaviour.

Following an extensive consultation period with CAA staff, the State Courts Administration Council (the Council) has also endorsed a suite of updated policies relating to workplace behaviour for CAA staff.  The policies have been strengthened to set out clear standards of behaviour, support for victims and confidential avenues of reporting for both victims and witnesses.

The Council and the CAA are committed to providing a safe workplace for all.