Feedback, Complaints and Compliments
- Civil Registry and Office of the Sheriff
- Protocol for Complaints against Judicial Officers of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory
- Complaints against Associates
Civil Registry and Office of the Sheriff
The Supreme Court of the Northern Territory is committed to providing a prompt, courteous and efficient registry service to the Northern Territory community. The Court recognises that Court users and other members of the community can provide valuable information and feedback to help maintain a high standard of service. The following information is intended to assist those who would like to provide feedback, to make a complaint, offer a compliment or provide a suggestion for the Supreme Court.
Who can use this service?
Feedback, complaints and compliments can be made by any person whether or not they are litigants in the Court.
What type of complaints can be made?
Anyone has the right to complain about any aspect of the Court Registry services or the services of the Office of the Sheriff and all complaints will be investigated and responded to appropriately. However these procedures are not available if you want to complain because you think:
- The decision in your case was incorrect or unfair; or
- The Judge, Associate Judge or the Registrar did not handle your case properly.
If you do not agree with a decision made by the Court or a judicial officer, you may appeal against that decision to a high Court. Court staff can give you more information about the procedure for lodging the appeal. However, they cannot advise you on whether you should appeal or as to grounds of appeal. You may need legal advice to make the decision to appeal and to complete the necessary documentation.
How to provide feedback, make a complaint or give a complement.
You may do this by communicating:
- In person or over the telephone;
- In writing; or
- Electronically through the website.
The address of the Court, relevant telephone numbers and the email address for the Court are set out below.
Any member of staff at the Court may receive your feedback, complaint or compliment. This will then be referred to the Director of Courts. The Court may request additional information from you.
Oral feedback, complaints and compliments
You may provide oral feedback, make a complaint or give a compliment. However, if the complaint is complex you may be asked to put the matter in writing.
Written feedback, complaints and compliments
You can submit your feedback, complaint and/or compliments by post, fax or email. You should send your letter, fax or email to the Director of Courts at the Supreme Court. If your contact is made in writing, you should include:
- Your name, address and contact number;
- The case number and parties involved in the action (where known); and
- Details of the feedback, complaint or compliment including the names (if known) of any individuals involved and the date of the occurrence.
Electronic feedback and complaints
Contact may be made by the email address on the website of the Supreme Court. Electronic lodgement will be acknowledged by email with a formal response to be provided by post.
It is preferable for a complainant to identify himself or herself so that additional information can be obtained if necessary. A failure to identify yourself may mean the complaint cannot be pursued.
Responding to complaints
If your complaint is made in person or over the telephone a member of staff will try to resolve the issue immediately. If the issue cannot be resolved immediately you should receive a formal acknowledgment within three working days. The acknowledgement will indicate who is responsible for investigating the complaint and provide an indication of the time by which a formal response will be given. Generally a response will be received within 10 working days indicate the outcome or progress of your complaint.
Can a complaint be withdrawn?
A complaint can be withdrawn at any time. Written notice of withdrawal would be appreciated.
If you need the assistance of an interpreter a telephone interpreter service is available by telephoning 131450 from anywhere in Australia. No fees are charged for the service.
Director of Courts
GPO Box 3547
DARWIN NT 0801
Tel: 08 8999 5412
Protocol for Complaints against Judicial Officers of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory
This protocol relates to complaints made against Judges, Masters and Registrars of the Supreme Court.
Judges are not subject to direct discipline by other persons, apart from extreme cases where they may be removed by the Administrator on an address from the Legislative Assembly for proved misbehaviour or incapacity. This degree of immunity from direct discipline, except in extreme cases, is necessary to maintain the independence of the Judges so that they can, and can be seen to, administer justice impartially. At the same time they are made accountable generally through the public nature of their work, the requirements that they give adequate reasons for their decisions and the right given to litigants to challenge decisions on appeal.
Nevertheless the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory is committed to providing a courteous and efficient service to the Northern Territory community. To assist in achieving a high standard of service the Court provides a mechanism for court users and other members of the community to make complaints regarding judicial officers.
Who may complain?
Any person affected is entitled to make a complaint of non-criminal misconduct regarding any member of the judiciary concerning the performance by the judicial officer of his or her judicial functions.
To whom should the complaint be addressed?
Any complaint regarding a judicial officer of the Supreme Court should be made to the relevant Head of Jurisdiction being the Chief Justice or the delegate of the Chief Justice.
Where a complaint is in relation to the Chief Justice it should be referred to and dealt with by the Senior Puisne Judge or the delegate of the Senior Puisne Judge.
The complaint should be acknowledged promptly by the judicial officer to whom it is addressed or his or her staff.
Complaints regarding the merits of a judicial decision
Where a complaint relates to, or involves, the merits of a judicial decision or any other matter which may be the subject of appeal or review the complaint should be dismissed and the complainant informed:
- Of any rights he or she may have to an appeal or review;
- Of any relevant time limits which may apply to the exercise of those rights; and
- Where he or she may be able to obtain free, pro bono or subsidised legal advice and/or assistance.
The relevant Head of Jurisdiction shall consider each complaint and may make a decision that:
- The nature or substance of the complaint suggest that no further action is required with regard to the complaint; or
- Further enquiries should be made.
In the event that the Head of Jurisdiction decides that no further action is required, the judicial officer concerned should be informed of the nature of the complaint and the decision made.
In all cases the complainant should be informed of the decision of the Head of Jurisdiction.
In the event that further enquiries are required the Head of Jurisdiction must refer the matter to the judicial officer who is the subject of the complaint and:
- Permit the judicial officer a reasonable time within which to respond to those matters raised by the complainant.
On receipt of the judicial officer’s response the Head of Jurisdiction may decide that:
- No further action is required and inform the complainant and the judicial officer that the complaint has been dismissed;
- Further enquiry should be made of either the judicial officer, the complainant or third parties before a decision could be made;
- The complaint has substance but is not sufficiently serious to contemplate removal; or
- The complaint has substance and is serious, eg the subject matter may be an indication of unfitness for office.
- In the event of the Head of Jurisdiction concluding that the complaint has substance but is not sufficiently serious to contemplate removal, the Head of Jurisdiction will notify both the judicial officer and the complainant accordingly. Appropriate remedial action will be taken and the complainant notified of the action taken.
In the event of the Head of Jurisdiction concluding that the complaint has substance and is serious it shall be dealt with in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Supreme Court Act.
Complaints against Associates
A complaint against an Associate to a Judge should be made to the relevant Judge.
The Chief Justice,
PO Box 3547,
Telephone: 08 8999 6381