Spigelman CJ's Integrity Branch Summary

I don't do this often so let's see how it goes.

If you want the one line summary:

"With great power comes great responsibility" Spiderman CJ.

For something slightly more in-depth:

  • First page is all about China. Somehow I don't think it's the most relevant thing.
  • Institutional integrity to ensure that a government operates how it should in practice.
  • Integrity determined by two considerations (OH GOD TORTS B FLASHBACKS!)
    • maintenance of fidelity to the public purpose
    • application of public values which the institution was expected to obey.
  • in short: exercises the powers conferred to it with the manner expected of it (by the public).

Overlap of Functions:

  • Spigelman CJ argues that judges make law and that this is an overlap in terms of separation of powers
  • No Crown no longer acts as an integrity function except in reserve power situations.

Integrity institutions:
* Auditor-general
* Crime and misconduct commission (Qld).

Judiciary's Role:

  • Judicial review is an integrity branch operation because of the purposive approach.
  • Brennan J: Our powers do not extend beyond declaring and enforcing the law as applicable to these powers.

Policing the Boundary:

  • Boundary between legality/merits
  • Not sure exactly where it is
  • Wednesbury test:
    • Expectations have arisen
    • Memoranda checked for considerations [if anyone understands the significance of 'excessive grammatical punctiliousness', please add it. ;)]
    • Blemishes —> unfairness.

Judicial Legitimacy:

  • Exercising their powers for the purposes that they were conferred
  • Argues that when the courts review matters which do not give rise to integrity issues, they have gone too far.


  • An integrity branch which would enforce checks and balances and ensure that the arms of government carry out their roles and use their conferred powers in the way expected of them by the public.