Complaints about judicial officers

Please note the Judicial Commission is not a court. It has no power to overturn a court’s decision. If you are unhappy with a court’s decision you may wish to seek your own legal advice.

The Judicial Commission can only examine complaints about the ability and behaviour of current New South Wales judicial officers. A New South Wales judicial officer means: a magistrate; a judge of the District Court; a judge of the Supreme Court; a judge of the Land and Environment Court; the President of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal; and a Commissioner of the Industrial Relations Commission.

The Judicial Commission has no power to examine complaints against a retired New South Wales judicial officer, a tribunal member, a federal judicial officer, a legal practitioner, a court officer or a police officer.

The Judicial Officers Act 1986 provides a means for people to complain about the ability or behaviour of judicial officers (but not their decisions) and to have those complaints examined by an independent body. Our complaint function is protective: we have no power to discipline judicial officers, only to protect the public from judicial officers who are not fit for office or lack the capacity to discharge their duties. Our function is also to protect the judiciary from unwarranted intrusions into their judicial independence. The Commission cannot:

  • provide legal advice or legal representation
  • review a case for judicial error, mistake or other legal grounds
  • investigate a complaint about a matter that is currently before a court
  • discipline or sanction a judicial officer
  • investigate allegations of criminal or corrupt conduct
  • investigate a complaint about a retired judicial officer, federal judicial officer, arbitrator, assessor, registrar, member of a tribunal or legal practitioners.