Leadership and accountability
Acting Heads of Bench
8.8The Senior Courts’ judges submitted that there is a need to make provision for the President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Judge of the High Court to nominate an Acting President or Acting Chief High Court Judge. The reason given is that the present statutory provisions, which provide that when either the President or Chief Judge is unable to act the next senior judge acts as Acting President or Acting Chief High Court Judge, are impractical when the next senior judge is not presently sitting because of appointment to a Royal Commission or to another office able to be held by a judge. The judges suggested that the President or Chief High Court Judge could be empowered to nominate a judge to act with the concurrence of the Chief Justice.
8.9We agree that such a provision would be sensible, and consider that the relevant provision in the District Courts Act 1947 should be similarly amended.
R37 Sections 4A(4) and 57(7) of the Judicature Act 1908, and 5A of the District Courts Act 1947, should be amended to allow the President of the Court of Appeal, the Chief High Court Judge, and the Chief District Court Judge to nominate another judge to act in that judge’s place with the agreement of the Chief Justice.