Judicial Independence In Australia: Contemporary Challenges, Future Directions
Rebecca Ananian-Welsh and Jonathan Crowe (eds); The Federation Press, 2016; 272 pages; $165.00 (hardback)
On 1 August this year, former Northern Territory Supreme Court Justice Brian Martin stood down as head of the Royal Commission into Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. In announcing that he had requested the Governor-General to revoke the Letters Patent, Martin declared that ‘it is essential’ that the community has ‘full confidence in the independence and competence of the Commissioner’ as well as the findings of the Commissioner. Appointed only a few days previously, concern was mounting — particularly among the Indigenous community — that Martin was too closely connected to the Northern Territory corrections systems. There was no suggestion that Martin would not be scrupulously independent in carrying out his duties as Royal Commissioner, and his long judicial service evidences the contrary. Rather, the perception of a lack of independence was critical.