27 U.W. Austl. L. Rev. 140 (1997-1998)
Judicial Independence and the High Court

handle is hein.journals/uwatlw27 and id is 146 raw text is: IVOL 27

Judicial Independence and the
High Court

Recently, some highly contentious decisions of the High Court of Australia have
highlighted to the public how important the le of the Court is. /i this paper the
Commonwealth Attorney-General seeks to explan the role of the Court, and the process
of appointing justices to it, as well as offering some comment on notions of judicial
independence as they relate to the High Court.
A USTRALIAN judges are currently under the community microscope and the
justices of the High Court are under the most intense scrutiny. I genuinely
welcome public interest in the judiciary and in the role of the courts. Public debate
of an appropriate kind will, I believe, lead to a better community understanding of
the role of the third arm of government in the democratic system enshrined in our
98 year old Constitution.
During the 95 years since its establishment in 1903 the High Court has
remained relatively stable in its membership. There were three original members'
and this remained the case until 1906 when the number of justices was increased to
t    AM QC MP; Commonwealth Attorney-General, This is a revised and updated version of a talk
given to the Monash University Law School Foundation (Melbourne, I May 1997).
*    See the Table at pp 142-143 for details of the Chief Justices and Justices appointed to the Hih
Court since 1903.
I.  S Griffith (Chief Justice), E Barton and RE O'Connor.

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