What they do
Judges preside over civil and criminal courts of law, and may decide the outcome of some legal cases. They ensure that courts are run fairly by enforcing the rules of law and evidence. They listen to evidence put forward by lawyers, barristers and solicitors and decide on the kind of evidence that is allowed in a case. They also instruct juries on legal matters, receive the decisions that juries make on legal cases, and make decisions on the outcome of cases. They pass sentence on those convicted of crimes and decide on the outcomes of custody and access disputes. Judges may also sit on tribunals or offer input to programs that seek to improve the court and justice system. They work all over the State in large and small courts in our cities and larger towns.
Specialisations include: District Court Judge, Family Court Justice, High Court Justice, Youth Court Judge (NZ)
Judges work in offices and courtrooms. They usually work regular business hours, but may be required to work longer hours to prepare for court and read case files. The length of cases varies considerably, with civil cases sometimes taking a matter of minutes to resolve, and criminal investigations sometimes taking weeks or even months to resolve. Judges may be required to travel between regional courthouses if they are working in country areas.
Tools and technologies
Judges refer to legal texts and databases when researching a case. They are required to wear legal gowns in court. They may use a microphone, depending on the size of the courtroom in which they are presiding.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a judge you must first complete a degree in law, and then gain significant experience as a solicitor or barrister.
All universities in Western Australia offer degrees in law. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
To work as a barrister or solicitor in Western Australia, you must complete Practical Legal Training as specified by the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia and then apply to the Supreme Court for admission as a lawyer. Contact the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia for more information.
To be eligible to be appointed as a judge by the Governor of Western Australia, you will need to have practised law for a minimum of eight years. However, most judges have significantly more than eight years of experience working in the judicial system before they are appointed.