System in place to handle feedback on judicial conduct

We agree with Mr Dharmendra Yadav that there are benefits in having in place a process to receive and consider complaints of judicial misconduct ("Set up body to look into judicial conduct issues"; last Sunday).

This will safeguard public confidence in and protect the impartiality and integrity of the judicial system.

The Singapore judiciary has put such procedures in place with a view to ensuring that any feedback and complaints concerning judicial conduct are brought to the attention of the relevant presiding judges and the Chief Justice, investigated and dealt with appropriately.

At the Supreme Court, the Office of Public Affairs (OPA), under the charge of the chief executive, now serves as a single point of contact between the Supreme Court and the public. The OPA is a channel to receive and process feedback and complaints from lawyers and other court users. Where any feedback pertains to judicial conduct, the chief executive and OPA provide the Chief Justice with the necessary fact-finding and administrative support.

The Family Justice Courts and State Courts also have frameworks in place for handling and investigating feedback and complaints against judges.

Substantiated complaints against judges will be brought by the presiding judges to the attention of the Chief Justice to determine whether and, if so, what further action may be required.

As head of the judiciary, the Chief Justice is ultimately responsible for judicial conduct and standards in Singapore.

Complaints against the conduct of our judges are rare. Most of the complaints received were from litigants seeking the intervention of the Chief Justice in relation to the unfavourable outcome of their court proceedings, for which the appropriate recourse is to lodge an appeal.

The system that we have established balances the demands of public accountability and judicial independence.

Juthika Ramanathan (Ms)

Chief Executive

Office of the Chief Justice

Supreme Court

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 09, 2015, with the headline 'System in place to handle feedback on judicial conduct'. Print Edition | Subscribe