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Queensland’s magistrates sworn in on wrong oath for two years

12th May 2015

The Parliament in Queensland is speeding through new laws in order to correct an administrative oversight which casts doubt in regards to the authority of some of Queensland’s new magistrates. It has been by the revealed attorney general that magistrates who have been sworn in over the past two years have been taking the wrong oath, and at least one did not take an oath at all. This error was noticed during the end of April, and is being corrected

Yvette D’ath, the attorney general, has stated that since April 2013, magistrates have been taking the oath from a repealed act. She stated that those who swore in the incorrect oath “would be prevented from exercising any of their powers and functions as a magistrate”.

However, she continued to say that that the magistrates amendment bill 2015 would make the oath which the new magistrates took just as valid as the oath they were meant to take, as it would declare the magistrates’ powers and make their functions valid. The bill would also validate the power of the acting magistrate who did not take the oath at all, but he or she would have to take the oath within three months of the bill’s commencement.

D’Ath told parliament that the government felt that “administration of the incorrect form of oath or affirmation, or failing to take an oath, has no effect on the legal correctness of judgments and orders made by the judicial officers”.

She continued to say, however, that “without retrospective remedial legislation, there is a serious risk of expensive and inconvenient disruption for parties who have ordered their affairs based on those judgments and orders.”