NORTHERN TERRITORY LAWS COMPILATION OF JURY LISTS: RIGHT OF PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL TO MAKE OBJECTIONS AND MODE OF GIVING NOTICE: RIGHT TO REPRESENTATION BY COUNSEL AT REVISION SITTINGS
JURY ACT 1862 (S.A.j, ss. 9, 10, 11, 12; Schedule B: JURIES ACT 1825 (IMP.), s. 10
The following telegram from the Administrator of the Northern Territory has been referred by the Secretary of the Home and Territories Department for advice:
Local Court of Full Jurisdiction sitting yesterday decided that certain points of law raised be submitted for opinion. Glad if you arrange accordingly. Clause 12 South Australian Act No. 1 of 1862 words 'Unless such men shall have had notice thereof. Is notice sufficient if objection made signed and sent by registered post by a private individual to and received by men objected to and has such objecting person who is a solicitor but bases his right of objection wholly and solely on grounds of citizenship and as an individual member of the public any locus standi in matter at all? Also please advise whether a person objected to or a person objecting has any right to be represented by Counsel.
The South Australian Jury Act 1862, section 12, is as follows:
At the first sittings of the Local Courts of Full Jurisdiction, held throughout the said Province during the month of November in every year, the
persons herein required to make out jury lists shall attend and produce the lists so prepared and verified, and also all rate books from which such lists may have been formed, to the Local Court, at which the men named therein are liable to serve, or to the Local Court of Adelaide, as the case may be, and thereupon the Justices assembled shall examine such lists seriatim, and shall strike out of such lists the names of all persons not liable to serve, or disqualified from serving as jurors, and also of such as are disqualified by deafness, blindness, or mental infirmity, and shall insert all names improperly omitted, and correct all errors and mistakes in such lists: Provided always, that no name, if omitted, shall be inserted, nor shall any name inserted be struck out by the Justices, unless upon the application of the men who may respectively be affected thereby, or unless such men shall have had notice thereof, or unless two of the said Justices shall cause notice to be given to such men respectively, requiring them to show cause at some adjournment of such sittings, to be holden at the next Local Court thereafter, why their names should not be inserted or struck out, as the case may be; and when every such list shall be duly corrected at such sittings, or at any adjournment thereof, it shall be allowed by the Justices present, or two of them, who shall sign the same with their allowance thereof; and every such allowance shall be final and binding on all men; and no exemption for any of the grounds hereinbefore stated shall be allowed, which shall not have been brought to the notice of the said Justices before their allowance of such lists: Provided, that if a sufficient number of Justices to form a Local Court of Full Jurisdiction shall not attend, then such lists shall be revised by the Justices or sole Justice attending at the time and place for holding such Court.
The following questions are asked:
- Is notice of objection sufficient if made signed and sent by registered post by a private individual and received by person objected to?
- Has a private individual (whether a solicitor or not) any locus standi in the matter to make an objection?
- Have the person objecting and the person objected to, or either of them, any right to be represented by Counsel?
Questions (1) and (2) in so far as they both relate to the locus standi of a private individual may be taken together. As regards the formation of jury lists the Jury Act, sections 9 and 10, provides that the Town Clerk or Commissioner of Police is to make out the list to the best of his knowledge and belief, and the requirements of Schedule B are to be fulfilled. Schedule B is the Sheriffs Precept, and it directs how the lists are to be compiled, and that when made out there is to be exhibited on the door of every church etc. a notice that the list is open for inspection 'and that all objections to the said list will be heard by the Local Court of . . . , on the . . . of . . . next', and it adds: 'And you must allow any inhabitant of the above-named district to inspect the same . . . ' gratis. Section 11 provides that: 'every original list, or a true copy thereof, to which the public shall have access . . . shall be kept open for public inspection ... in order that due notice may be had of names improperly omitted or inserted'. Section 12, above set out, provides that at the Local Court of Revision 'the persons herein required to make out jury lists shall attend . . . ' and the Justices shall cancel all errors and mistakes.
I think it is quite clear that any private individual who is an inhabitant of the district concerned has a right to make an objection. The Act contemplates that the lists will probably contain 'errors and mistakes'. The persons who make them out are required to be present, and the public is invited to inspect the lists and object to them 'in order that due notice may be had of names improperly omitted or inserted'.
As regards the sufficiency of the notice of objection, section 12 provides that no names shall be inserted or struck out unless (1) 'upon the application of the men . . . affected', or (2) 'unless such men shall have had notice thereof, or (3) 'unless two . . . Justices shall cause notice to be given to such men . . . requiring them to show cause . . . why their names should not be inserted or struck out'. A difficulty arises by the use of the word 'thereof in (2) above. Grammatically it would appear to refer to the inserting or omitting of a name, and not to the hearing of an objection. But it is apparently intended to refer to something different from (3) above, and the Precept notifies that 'all objections . . . will be heard' at the sitting of the Court.
I think it quite clear that a notice by a private individual would be sufficient, and one sent by registered post and received by the person objected to would satisfy the provision of section 12 that such man shall have notice, but as to whether the notice was 'notice thereof within section 12 would in my opinion depend on the wording of the notice sent. If the notice said that objection would be made at the Local Court of Revision and that if upheld the name of the person objected to would be struck out, or words to that effect, I think it would be 'notice thereof within section 12. I think the scheme of the section is that a name may be struck out (1) if the man concerned applies for it, (2) if he has had notice that someone else will apply for it, or (3) if two Justices (whether from their own knowledge, or from what is brought before them at the Court) require him to show cause, but in this last case he must be given an opportunity to be heard at an adjournment. In the Juries Act 1825 of England, the wording, which is similar to the South Australian Act, but fuller, makes it clear that the notice required is 'that an Application for such Purpose would be made to the Justices at such Petty Sessions'.(1)
Question (3): As regards the right to be represented by Counsel, the general principle is that Counsel have the right of audience, and parties the right to be represented by Counsel in judicial proceedings. The revision sitting of the Local Court is a judicial proceeding, and indeed, by section 12 the decision is 'final and binding on all men'. The person objected to may 'show cause . . . why [his name] should not be . . . struck out', and I know of nothing which would prevent him employing Counsel as in the ordinary course of the court proceedings. The public is invited to object, and the right to be represented by Counsel is naturally common to both parties, so that I see no reason to prevent the objector also being represented by Counsel.
[Vol. 16, p. 36]