Papalia criticisms of judicial decision: an attack on the rule of law

19th Feb 2024

The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has noted with some concern the recent public comments of the Western Australian Corrective Services Minister, Paul Papalia, with respect to decisions made by the independent judiciary.

“An independent judiciary is of crucial importance to our democracy,” said barrister Tom Percy KC, on behalf of the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

“Any comments like those of Minister Papalia only serve to undermine public confidence in the judiciary, the rule of law and the very foundation of our democratic system of government.  They were neither warranted nor accurate.”

The ALA has seen the public statements from our colleagues at the Criminal Lawyers Association of Western Australia and the Law Society of Western Australia and completely supports those statements.

“The reality is that the judicial officer considers any materials filed, hears from the parties, and is required to make findings of fact,” said Shash Nigam, Australian Lawyers Alliance. “It is not appropriate for members of parliament to criticise a Court’s decision when they are not armed with the facts, the law and what transpired in Court.”

“The sentencing exercise is a very tough one, and judicial officers take great care in providing detailed reasons for their decisions.”

Mr Nigam said the separation of powers is fundamental to our system of government.

“Judicial officers must be free to do their job and exercise judgment, without political interference. The Parliament makes the laws, and the Courts interpret them.”

Tags: Western Australia