Publication Details

This article was originally published as Mohr, R, Authorised Performances: The Procedural Sources of Judicial Authority, Flinders Journal of Law Reform, 4(1), 2000, 63-79.


Media criticism of the courts, or perceptions of a declining 'public confidence' in the judiciary have led to concems over law's authority. There has been dcbate on concems over 'judicial activism' in North and South America, Europe and Australia. In Australia this has been played out in political criticism of the judges of the High Court, while other courts have come in for criticism from sections of the media for being too lenient in sentencing and generally being 'soft on crime'. Judicial concern over these criticisms has been expressed in extra-curial responses by High Court judges and in several recent conferences focussing on public perceptions and media representations of the judiciary. Two of these conferences were organised by judicial bodies and all were well attended by judges. Judicial concern over limits and challenges to judicial authority has also been apparent in a number of cases addressing judicial powers.

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