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Judges and Judging: Public Confidence and the Legitimacy of Law Sharyn Roach Anleu Kathy Mack School of Social & Policy Studies Law School Flinders University.

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Presentation on theme: "Judges and Judging: Public Confidence and the Legitimacy of Law Sharyn Roach Anleu Kathy Mack School of Social & Policy Studies Law School Flinders University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Judges and Judging: Public Confidence and the Legitimacy of Law Sharyn Roach Anleu Kathy Mack School of Social & Policy Studies Law School Flinders University GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, Australia Public Lecture Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Law School Strathclyde University, Glasgow 7 th April 2011

2 A judicial officer’s view Judicial Research Project Flinders University 2 It is a difficult job but one that leads to a great deal of satisfaction if you feel you are performing it as well as you can. It is not however a job which you should rely on the gratitude of others nor is it a job for the ambitious. The constancy of the job can be very wearing over time. There are few jobs that you are on public ‘display’ 5 hours a day 45 weeks of the year. … The pressure of case loads seems to impact on the quality of decision making at all levels. … Some judicial appointments have potentially not contributed to the standing of the judiciary – but overall the quality of justice is meeting the demands of contemporary society – but not perfectly.

3 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 3 Magistrates Research Project Judicial Research Project  Consulting interviews with magistrates in all states and territories (2001)  National Survey of Australian Magistrates (2002)  National Court Observation Study (2004)  National Survey of Australian Judges (2007)  Second National Survey of Australian Magistrates (2007)  Judicial Workload Allocation Study (2008)

4 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 4 High Court of Australia (n=7) Family Court of Australia (n=39) Federal Magistrates Court (n=45) Federal Court of Australia (n=45) Supreme Court (Appeal and Trial) (n=187) District/ County Courts (n=221) Magistrates/ Local Courts (n=456) As at 3 March 2011: Source: AIJA The Australian court system

5 Women in the Australian judiciary by court Judicial Research Project Flinders University 5

6 The decision to become a judge/magistrate  Kind of work92%  Intellectual challenge85%  Job security69%  Value to society68%  Diversity of work65% Judicial Research Project Flinders University 6 Whole Judiciary (n = ) Source: National Surveys 2007

7 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 7 Satisfaction: Overall work  Importance to the community 97%  Overall work92%  Level of responsibility 91%  Intellectual challenge 87%  Varied and interesting86% Whole Judiciary (n= ) Source: National Surveys 2007

8 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 8 Satisfaction: Working conditions  Working relations with court staff 92%  Geographic location 90%  Working relations with other judges/magistrates85%  Compatibility with lifestyle 77%  Salary76% Whole Judiciary (n= ) Source: National Surveys 2007

9 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 9 Satisfaction Overall, I’ve enjoyed it. You only find out if you have an aptitude for it when you actually do it. Some of the best lawyers find they can’t make decisions, and their life becomes hell. I have found I can make decisions for others, and sleep at night. I’m one of the lucky ones. Source: National Surveys 2007

10 Essential skills/qualities for judicial work  Impartiality91%  Integrity/high ethical standards90%  A sense of fairness79%  Communication76%  Legal knowledge62% Judicial Research Project Flinders University 10 Whole judiciary (n= ) Source: National Surveys 2007

11 Essential interpersonal skills for judicial work  Communication76%  Being a good listener56%  Courtesy55%  Patience50%  Interpersonal skills37%  Compassion33% Judicial Research Project Flinders University 11 Whole Judiciary (n= ) Source: National Surveys 2007

12 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 12 Stress: Volume of work Volume of work unrelenting 74 % Judicial functions  Increased 58% Non-judicial functions  Increased 54% Whole Judiciary (n= ) Source: National Surveys 2007

13 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 13 Legal representation Supreme Court (n=111) District/ County Court (n=128) Magistrates (n= ) Legal representatives are well prepared: Always/often 70%47%38% My time is taken up explaining things to unrepresented litigants: Always/often 10%5%58% Source: National Surveys 2007

14 Making decisions is very stressful Judicial Research Project Flinders University 14 Source: National Surveys 2007

15 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 15 National Court Observation Study  General criminal list  30 court sessions  27 different magistrates  20 locations  1,287 matters

16 Time per matter Judicial Research Project Flinders University second intervals (n=1,254)

17 Time per matter Judicial Research Project Flinders University 17  5% 15 seconds or less  25% 1 minute or less  50% 2 minutes 20 seconds or less  95% less than 15 minutes  Average time per matter: 4 minutes, 13 seconds (n= 1,287)

18 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 18 Stress: Emotions, sleep, health Judges Magistrates (n= ) (n= )  My work is emotionally draining  Always/often 31% 47%  Sometimes 53% 41%  Difficult decisions keep me awake  Sometimes 36% 29%  Rarely/never 52% 62%  I am concerned about my health  Sometimes 36% 42%  Rarely/never 49% 36% Source: National Surveys 2007

19 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 19 Time on domestic work: All judges by gender Whole Judiciary (n=538) Source: National Surveys 2007

20 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 20 Stress and satisfaction The career extracts its pound/kilos of flesh. There is very little positive feedback. There is hardly ever any opportunity to debrief. I wake in fright at some of the things I hear & see. Why do I do it? Because I know I make a difference in some small way. Because I believe I am privileged. The people in my court are not. Source: National Surveys 2007

21 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 21 Judicial Research Project  Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant (DP ),  Australian Research Council Linkage Project Grant (LP ),  Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant (DP ),  Australian Research Council Linkage Project Grant (LP210306), with the Association of Australian Magistrates (AAM) and all Chief Magistrates and their courts as industry partners with support from Flinders University as the host institution.

22 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 22 Judicial Research Project We are grateful to Russell Brewer, Carolyn Corkindale, Elizabeth Edwards, Ruth Harris, Julie Henderson, John Horrocks, Lilian Jacobs, Leigh Kennedy, Lisa Kennedy, Mary McKenna, Rose Polkinghorne, Wendy Reimens, Mavis Sansom, Chia-Lung Tai, Carla Welsh, Rae Wood, and David Wootton for research and administrative assistance.

23 Judicial Research Project Flinders University 23 Selected publications  Roach Anleu, Sharyn & Kathy Mack (2010) 'The Work of the Australian Judiciary: Public and Judicial Attitudes' Journal of Judicial Administration  Roach Anleu, Sharyn & Kathy Mack (2010) 'Trial Courts and Adjudication' in Cane and Kritzer (eds) Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research, OUP  Mack, Kathy & Sharyn Roach Anleu (2010) 'Performing Neutrality: Judicial Demeanor and Legitimacy' 35(1) Law & Social Inquiry  Mack, Kathy & Sharyn Roach Anleu (2010) 'Women in the Australian Judiciary' in Patricia Easteal (ed), Women and the Law in Australia LexisNexis.  Roach Anleu, Sharyn & Kathy Mack (2009) 'Intersections Between In-Court Procedures and the Production of Guilty Pleas' 42(1) Australian & New Zealand Journal of Criminology  Roach Anleu, Sharyn & Kathy Mack (2009) 'Gender, Judging and Job Satisfaction' 17(1) Feminist Legal Studies

24 Judges and Judging: Public Confidence and the Legitimacy of Law Sharyn Roach Anleu Kathy Mack School of Social & Policy Studies Law School Flinders University GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, Australia Public Lecture Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, Law School Strathclyde University, Glasgow 7 th April 2011


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