Temporary Judicial Officers: Best Practice in Comparative Perspective

The appointment of Temporary Judicial Officers can arouse strong opinions. In Australia, Justice Kirby of the High Court has asserted that the ‘time has come … to draw a line and forbid the practice’. At the same time, most jurisdictions recognise the need for such appointments to assist the courts in significant ways. In this paper, we examine the challenges and the advantages of the use of temporary judicial officers, and, through comparison of Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, America and India, we posit a number of recommendations for best practice in the area. Our goal is to propose a framework around the appointment, conditions, remuneration and termination of temporary judicial officers that is principled, efficient and effective, that both respects and promotes and independence of the judicial branch while harnessing the potential contribution to the administration of justice of a temporary judicial officers’ regime.