Removing Judges

Suggested clause:

'Judges shall be protected from arbitrary dismissal or dismissal on political grounds.  Judges may only be dismissed by reason of gross misconduct.*  The Judiciary shall devise rules and disciplinary procedures under which Judges may be dismissed.'

(This would clearly include criminal offending and serious misconduct such as presiding over cases in which a Judge has a personal or conflict of interests) 

Original idea:

1. Should judges be liable to be removed from post on grounds of:

a. Incompetence or gross incompetence?

b. Unprofessional conduct? (for example presiding over a case in which they have a personal interest or bias).

c.  Criminal offending?  (If so, should this exclude minor offences?)

2.  If they should be liable to this sort of removal, what should be the process by which allegations are made and a judge removed?  Who should judge the judge's conduct?  What standard of proof should apply?  What sort of safeguards are necessary to ensure that a removal is not politically motivated?

3.  What if anything should be said in the constitutiom about the security of tenure and/or dismissal of judges?

I have not addressed the issues of age limits or probationary periods as these are well covered by ideas which have already been posted.  




edited on Apr 18, 2015 by Ian Smith

Ian Smith Apr 5, 2015

Dear All,

I am posting a quick comment here and in my other ideas.

Firstly, I want to say how much I have enjoyed seeing all of your contributions on this and other ideas and how impressed I am with the range of expertise and erudition which has filled these debates.

Secondly, I wish to put forward a couple of suggestions as to a way forward at this stage.  They are:

A.   I suggest that we all refrain from further voting until the ideas have been refined and represented and have then been debated for a while.  My thinking here is that we will want to see the reshaped ideas and see the comments on those refined ideas before we decide whether they are to be voted up or down,  I do not think that we should refrain from voting on comments but perhaps try not to vote too hastily on them.

B.  Now that the hurly burly of the "Hacking" phase (some of it quite savage) has passed, I hope and wish that we will adopt a more collaborative and less combative approach in our commentary, so that commentary is given a chance to be constructive and really do the job of refining the ideas in question.

C.  I would hope that we can refrain from attacking the very existence of the idea under discussion in this phase or the fact that it has successfully gone through to this phase against the wishes of those who voted it down.  I sincerely hope that the previous critics of an idea, will still respect that it found favour with the crowd and now help to refine the idea in this phase.

Thirdly, I will try my best not to introduce any more typos and mangled phrases! 

Best wishes for the holiday weekend!


Ian Smith Apr 10, 2015


Are you working on related ideas elsewhere?

Kind regards,


Users tagged:

John Z Apr 10, 2015

No, not on this topic.  The only related topic is a "Should Judges have a Probationary Period".  

John Z Apr 10, 2015

As for your proposal:

1.  This portion should be mentioned in the Constitution, with a statement that the actual disciplinary procedures to be established by the Judiciary, BUT those procedures would be approved by Parliament (this way, two branches of government approve the procedures;  but the application and execution of the procedures will be exclusively by the Judiciary [Parliament will not be involved in the discipline or removal of Judges]).  However, I am unsure if I would authorize Parliament to impeach a Judge (perhaps someone can assist me with this thought). 

2.  This portion should not be in the Constitution;  the procedures should be created as referenced above by Court Rule and/or legislation.

3.  I would leave this portion out;  #1 point above covers this. 

Tom Austin Apr 12, 2015

I have remarked under the 'Judicial appointment'* proposal that something of this should be included there, John finessing would work well there also.