Chapter Three - People > Effectiveness of Investigations and Complaints Handling > page 7 of 12
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Effectiveness of Investigations and Complaints Handling

Judge Advocate General

The Office of the Judge Advocate General of the ADF was created by the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982.

Major General the Hon Justice Len Roberts-Smith, RFD was first appointed in 2002 by the Governor-General. He was re-appointed for a further two years in October 2005. While the holder of the office has a rank, they are statutorily independent of the chain of command and must be, or have been, a judge of a Federal Court or State or Territory Supreme Court.

The Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 prescribes certain functions of the Judge Advocate General. These currently include making rules of procedure for Service tribunals, providing a final legal review of proceedings and appointing Judge Advocates, Defence Force Magistrates, Presidents and members of courts martial. The office of the Judge Advocate General and its functions are indicative of the Legislature's desire for appropriate and independent oversight of the operation of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 in the overall military discipline system of the ADF.

The Judge Advocate General provides the Minister for Defence with an independent annual report relating to the operation of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982, the Regulations and Rules made under it and the operation of any other law of the Commonwealth or the Australian Capital Territory, in so far as that law relates to the discipline of the ADF. The report, for calendar year 2004, was tabled on 26 May 2005.

The Judge Advocate General also gave evidence to the Senate Foreign Affairs and Trade References Committee during its inquiry into the effectiveness of Australia's military justice system.

Further information on the Judge Advocate General, including copies of the Judge Advocate General's annual report to the Minister, may be found on the Judge Advocate General's website at http://www.defence.gov.au/jag/

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