21 Dec 2012

'Dangerous' to have judges' decisions reviewed

10:11 am on 21 December 2012

The Chief High Court Judge says any attempts to review judges' performance will lead to corruption in the court system.

Heated public debate about some high-profile rulings this year has led to calls for judges' decisions to be audited.

Among those calling for judges' decisions to be reviewed is the family of Christie Marceau. Ms Marceau was killed at her home by Akshay Chand who had been released on bail despite having threatened her.

However Chief High Court Judge Helen Winkelmann said it would be dangerous to introduce corporate culture to the judiciary.

Justice Winkelmann said if there is a body telling judges which of their rulings are wrong, they'll be incentivised to rule a certain way.

She said judges take an oath to make decisions without fear or favour and to do that they need to be truly independent.

If they do get it wrong, she said, there is room to appeal or go to the Judicial Conduct Commissioner.

She said all High Court rulings go online and she is encouraging her judges to write summaries that clearly explain the reasons for their rulings.