New rules shroud hearings in cloak of secrecy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 August, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 August, 1996, 12:00am

Disciplinary hearings involving judicial officers are likely to be heard in secret, according to regulations to be announced today.

One of the 16 new rules states that every hearing shall be heard in camera unless the tribunal decides there is a good reason for it to be held in public.

When the proceedings take place behind closed doors the tribunal - two judges and a civil servant appointed by the Chief Justice - will say who can attend.

The Judicial Officers (Tribunal) Rules, will replace civil service regulations which previously applied.

Assistant Director of Administration Stephen Fisher said they would provide a more detailed and formal basis for investigations.

The tribunal will compile a report on its findings and send it to the Judicial Service Commission.

The Governor will decide on the penalty to be imposed after considering recommendations from the commission.

Mr Fisher said the new rules provided for legal advice to be given to the tribunal when necessary.

They deal with every aspect of the proceedings including the inspection of documents, legal representation for the judicial officer concerned, and the provision of a clerk to assist the work of the tribunal.