Respectful Conduct in Court

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will introduce a bill to amend the Summary Offences Act to make it an offence to fail to stand for a judge or magistrate and for disruptive behaviour during court proceedings.

The Problem

South Australians expect certain standards of behaviour will be adhered to in court.

However, recent cases in South Australia and other jurisdictions have shown an increase in extremely disrespectful and disruptive conduct, such as vulgar abuse directed at other parties which impacts on the flow of proceedings.

The existing powers of courts are insufficient in some cases for enforcing respectful conduct.

No one in a court should find themselves on the receiving end of abuse, nor should we condone failing to stand for a judicial officer.

The State Liberals' Plan

If elected in March 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will introduce a bill to amend the Summary Offences Act to make it an offence to fail to stand for a judge or magistrate and for disruptive behaviour during court proceedings.

This new offence is designed to fall in between the types of conduct covered by judicial power to remove someone from the court and the charge of contempt of court.

The offence would carry a maximum penalty of a $1250 fine or 3 months imprisonment.

By giving judges greater powers to enforce stricter standards of respectful conduct, courts are better able to maintain community confidence, proceedings can continue without unnecessary delay and we afford all those involved their right to procedural fairness.

We will send a clear message that adhering to the laws and procedures of the judicial system is a fundamental expectation of everyone who appears before the courts.

Part of our plan for SA