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Essay About The Importance Of The Independence Of The Judiciary In Australia

1830 words - 7 pages

Foundations Essay - Independence of the JudiciaryTo understand the expression 'the independence of the judiciary' you first must understand what is meant my judiciary. The judicature is:The judicial power of the commonwealth shall be vested in a Federal Supreme Court, to be called the High Court of Australia, and in such other federal courts as the Parliament creates, and in such other courts as it invests with federal jurisdiction. The High Court shall consist of a chief justice and so many other justices, not less than two, as the Parliament describes.Using this definition contained in the Australian Constitution, the expression 'the independence of the judiciary' to my understanding refers only to independence in making decisions in court cases. It means that in making such decisions a judge must be individually independent and free from pressures which could influence a judge in reaching a decision in a case other then by intellect and conscience based on a genuine assessment of the evidence and an honest application of the law .The independence of the judiciary also incorporates that the judiciary is totally isolated from the other branches of the government these branches being the executive and legislative arms which make up the separation of powers as outlined in the Australian Constitution. Judicial independence is of the utmost importance to our judicial system, and to our system of government, because without judicial independence they become useless institutions. The importance of an independent judiciary is to maintain the rule of law, the rule of law being the principle that no member of society is above the law, every member of society is bound by the law, and everyone is equal before the law.The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states the fundamental rights that every human being is entitled to and includes rights referred to in the section, "Procedural Guarantees in Civil and Criminal Trials" . Article 14 (1) states:All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by lawThe appointment of a judicial branch of government, as outlined in the Australian Constitution and the guarantee that it is completely separate and independent of the other branches, represents the main way by which most states seek to adhere with the principles contained in the previously stated provision of the ICCPR.As Sir Anthony Mason said:The separation of judicial power is not only protection against the exercise of arbitrary power, but it also assists in maintaining the independence of the judiciary and contributes to public confidence in the administration of justice.This statement highlights the importance in ensuring that the judicial power remains separate to ensure that the public can have...

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