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FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 - SECT 21B

Arrangement of business of Court

             (1)  The Chief Justice is responsible for ensuring the effective, orderly and expeditious discharge of the business of the Court.

          (1A)  In discharging his or her responsibility under subsection (1) (and without limiting the generality of that subsection) the Chief Justice:

                     (a)  may, subject to this Act and to such consultation with Judges as is appropriate and practicable, do all or any of the following:

                              (i)  make arrangements as to the Judge or Judges who is or are to constitute the Court, or the Full Court, in particular matters or classes of matters;

                             (ii)  without limiting the generality of subparagraph (i)--assign particular caseloads, classes of cases or functions to particular Judges;

                            (iii)  temporarily restrict a Judge to non-sitting duties; and

                     (b)  must ensure that arrangements are in place to provide Judges with appropriate access to (or reimbursement for the cost of):

                              (i)  annual health assessments; and

                             (ii)  short-term counselling services; and

                            (iii)  judicial education; and

                     (c)  may deal, as set out in subsection (1B), with a complaint about the performance by another Judge of his or her judicial or official duties; and

                     (d)  may take any measures that the Chief Justice believes are reasonably necessary to maintain public confidence in the Court, including, but not limited to, temporarily restricting another Judge to non-sitting duties.

          (1B)  The Chief Justice may, if a complaint is made about another Judge, deal with the complaint by doing either or both of the following in respect of the complaint:

                     (a)  deciding whether or not to handle the complaint and then doing one of the following:

                              (i)  dismissing the complaint;

                             (ii)  handling the complaint if the Chief Justice has a relevant belief in relation to the complaint about the other Judge;

                            (iii)  arranging for any other complaint handlers to assist the Chief Justice to handle the complaint if the Chief Justice has a relevant belief in relation to the complaint about the other Judge;

                     (b)  arranging for any other complaint handlers to decide whether or not to handle the complaint and then to do one of the following:

                              (i)  dismiss the complaint;

                             (ii)  handle the complaint if each of the complaint handlers has a relevant belief in relation to the complaint about the other Judge.

Note:          A complaint handler (other than the Chief Justice) may handle a complaint by referring it to the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice may then do either or both of the things referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) in respect of the complaint.

             (2)  The Deputy Chief Justice shall assist the Chief Justice in the exercise of the functions conferred on the Chief Justice by this section (other than paragraph (1A)(c) or (d)).

          (3A)  The Chief Justice may authorise, in writing, a person or a body to do one or more of the following:

                     (a)  assist the Chief Justice to handle complaints or a specified complaint;

                     (b)  decide whether or not to handle complaints or a specified complaint;

                     (c)  dismiss complaints or a specified complaint;

                     (d)  handle complaints or a specified complaint.

          (3B)  To avoid doubt, the Chief Justice may authorise under subsection (3A):

                     (a)  the Deputy Chief Justice; or

                     (b)  a body that includes the Deputy Chief Justice.

             (4)  In exercising, or assisting in the exercise of, the functions or powers mentioned in paragraph (1A)(a), the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice have the same protection and immunity as if they were exercising, or assisting in the exercise of, those functions or powers as, or as members of, the Court.

Note:          See also section 38Y.

             (5)  Despite section 39B of the Judiciary Act 1903 , the Federal Court of Australia does not have jurisdiction with respect to a matter relating to the exercise by the Chief Justice of, or relating to the Deputy Chief Justice assisting in the exercise of, the functions or powers mentioned in subsection (1A), (1B) or (3A).



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