Judges and Magistrates are employed by the Australian government. They are appointed by state and federal governors or attorney generals to work both in court and from their offices, called their "Chambers." Qualified lawyers must be in practice for at least eight years to become a judge or magistrate, although most judges and magistrates have much more experience than that before their first appointment. The employment rate of judges and magistrates is projected to remain relatively unchanged.
The duties of judges and magistrates involve the conducting of Australian courts. They ensure that all applicable rules are followed in court proceedings and that fair judgments are passed to plaintiffs in their court. To this end, they read motions and pleadings to understand the issues and facts of a case, determine the admissibility of evidence and listen to the allegations of plaintiffs to weigh the evidence for or against their charges.
Judges and magistrates are also expected to keep themselves up to date with legal precedents and changes in the law. They read and research previous cases and other legal decisions to understand the body of law that applies to their court. They are in charge of all legal proceedings in court, and they ensure that they are run fairly and in accordance with all applicable rules of law and evidence. Judges and magistrates conduct both civil and criminal proceedings. Magistrates decide whether or not defendants will go to trial. They also instruct juries as to their duties.
Those who wish to become a judge or magistrate should work toward their secondary school certificate or equivalent in English. It's advisable to have two degrees in a combined university course, the prerequisites for which will vary depending on the non-law components of the course.
Judges possess superior character qualities as part of their qualification. They are well-spoken and literate; mature and responsible; and they are fair, firm and honest in all their dealings. They uphold the rule of law even under public scrutiny and pressure. They are analytical and quick to reason in order to discern facts from the available evidence. They also have an intimate knowledge of commonwealth, state, and federal law, as well as the history of law and court processes.