The NSW Parliament has passed government amendments to laws governing the appointment of judges to the Independent Commission Against Commission (ICAC) and the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC).
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (Commissioner) Act 1994 and the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission Act 2016 enable (if certain conditions are met) a judge of the Supreme Court, who has resigned immediately prior to their appointment as a Commissioner of the ICAC or LECC or as an Inspector of the LECC, to have their commission as a judge revive when the person ceases to hold office, causing the person to become a judge of the Supreme Court again automatically.
This provides for continuity of service under the Judges’ Pensions Act 1953 and ensures that appointees have security of tenure.
The amendments to the respective Acts extend these provisions to District Court judges, and also to Supreme Court and District Court judges appointed as Inspector of the ICAC, to ensure consistency between relevant provisions.
This will provide a broader pool of potential applicants for these important statutory offices, by ensuring that suitably qualified and experienced judges of the District Court are not discouraged from accepting an appointment as a Commissioner or Inspector of the ICAC or LECC.
It will also mean that District Court judges appointed as a Commissioner or Inspector of the ICAC or LECC have security of tenure, and are able to return to their relevant court at the conclusion of their statutory appointment without being re-appointed by the government of the day, which is important for their independent decision making.
Senior members of the Bar and highly experienced legal practitioners are frequently appointed to the District Court. Judges of the District Court have varied expertise and experience that would be of benefit to the ICAC and LECC in performing their statutory functions.