Accountability, transparency and diversity – the importance of an independent tribunal appointment process

Arthur Moses SC1

1 President, Law Council of Australia

The Rule of Law demands the independence of tribunals.  Yet maintaining the appearance of independence is equally crucial to promote public trust and confidence in tribunal members and their decision-making.  In an age of transparency, this presentation will consider three contemporary challenges to the appearance of independence of modern tribunals: the character and purpose of tribunals; executive and parliamentary comment on tribunal decisions; and the absence of a transparent, diverse and merit-based appointments process.  This presentation will also investigate the compelling case for an apolitical, open and merit-based appointment system and a stand-alone Federal Judicial Commission.


Arthur Moses SC has been practising at the NSW Bar for over 25 years and, in 2008, was appointed Senior Counsel in the state of NSW. He is the immediate past President of the NSW Bar Association and has been a Director of Law Council since July 2014.

He practises in a wide range of areas including administrative law, coronial inquests, corruption inquiries, proceeds of crime litigation, military law, work health and safety prosecutions, employment and industrial law, discrimination, restraints of trade, commercial, equity and appeals in all jurisdictions.

Mr Moses regularly appears before the Supreme Court of NSW, the NSW Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia as well as appellate Courts in other states and territories. He is a Squadron Leader in the Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reserve.


The COAT is intended to facilitate liaison and discussion between the heads of tribunals. It will support the development of best practice models and model procedural rules, standards of behaviour and conduct for members and increased capacity for training and support for members.