Australian Bar Association responds to recent commentary about judicial impartiality

23 August 2021

The Australian Bar Association notes recent commentary in the media about analyses of the outcomes of decisions reached by individual judges – sitting both by themselves in trials or together on appeals. From those, it has been suggested that certain judges are "pro" or "anti" certain groups, in particular employers or employees/unions.  It is misleading to draw any inference as to the impartiality of the judiciary on that basis.

President of the Australian Bar Association, Matthew Howard SC said, "The methodology employed in analyses of this kind is flawed. The Australian people are well served by highly competent, hard-working and independent judges.  Judges take an oath to serve the community without fear or favour and it is unfair to question their independence on the basis of these kinds of ‘statistics’.

“Cases are decided by the application of legal principles, sometimes developed over many years, to the particular facts in each case and having regard to any relevant legislation. The impartiality of judges should not be questioned without a complete understanding of each of those factors.”

About the ABA
The Australian Bar Association is the peak body representing nearly 6,000 barristers throughout Australia. Established in 1963, the ABA is committed to serving, promoting and representing its members, as well as advocating for fair and equal justice for all.

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