Chief Justice Kourakis endorses SA policy targeting improper workplace behaviour


South Australian judges and magistrates have earlier this week adopted a new policy targeting inappropriate workplace conduct by judicial officers.

In a statement, the Honourable Chris Kourakis, Chief Justice of South Australia’s Supreme Court, has said the ‘Judicial Officer Appropriate Workplace Conduct Policy’ demonstrates a commitment to “providing a safe, respectful and supportive workplace for all.”

Kourakis CJ went on to say the South Australian judiciary at all levels “will not tolerate inappropriate workplace conduct by judicial officers.”

“The authority assumed with taking judicial office comes with a responsibility to lead by example in court, in our workplaces and in the community,” he said.

The new policy outlines what behaviours constitute inappropriate workplace conduct and defines bullying, discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and victimisation.

It also calls on judicial officers to “recognise the significance of any power imbalance in a personal relationship in the workplace, including by reason of seniority in position or age,” mandating that sexual relationships with colleagues be disclosed.

As reported by ABC News, the new policy comes after a 2021 report by the Equal Opportunity Commissioner revealed widespread sexual and discriminatory harassment in South Australia’s legal profession.

Forty-two per cent of respondents said they had experienced sexual or discriminatory harassment at work, with one-third claiming to have experienced it on multiple occasions.

Predatory behaviour and unwanted advances were also recorded, with 41 respondents saying they had received requests or pressure for sex or other intimate acts.

The new policy was adopted by a resolution of South Australia’s Heads of Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, District Court, Magistrates Court, Coroners Court and Youth Court.

READ MORE: Chief Justice Chris Kourakis leads charge for SA lawyers to undergo compulsory anti-bullying training

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