Supreme Court of Tasmania

Judicial Independence

For a legal system in a democracy to work properly, it is necessary for:

  • Law Makers (State Parliament);
  • Law Enforcers (Police and the Public Service); and
  • Law Interpreters (Courts and Judiciary)

to be separate and independent.

In Australia there is a convention, which is commonly referred to as the doctrine of separation of powers, by which judges remain totally independent following their appointment. This independence is secured by certain legislative measures and conventions including:

  • A prohibition against judges holding any other paid office;
  • The fixing of judicial salaries by the Legislature, rather than the Executive or the Public Service;
  • The provision that a judge can only be dismissed for misconduct by the Governor at the request of both Houses of Parliament;
  • The convention that a judge should not engage in political or any other public activity which might have the effect of identifying him or her with one segment of the community as opposed to another.