An opposition plan for a sentencing council to review penalties handed down to wrongdoers in the state is a flawed concept and likely to be unconstitutional, West Australian Attorney-General Michael Mischin says.

The state Labor party announced the plan on Sunday, saying it would give the community direct input into WA's sentencing regime.

The council would be chaired by the chief justice and include the chief judge, chief magistrate, director of public prosecutions, commissioner of police, representatives of the Law Society of Western Australia and Legal Aid WA, and two members of the public.

The opposition also promised to establish a Judicial Commission, enabling members of the public to lodge a complaint against any judicial officer.

Mr Mischin said judges should be sentencing according to law as made by parliament, not by independent councils.

While the plan was touted as a step that would make judges more accountable, it would result in discussion papers and the issuing of guidelines, not rules, he said.

"In short, it's another Labor talk-shop," Mr Mischin said.

"The community will likely not be served by the proposal, given that of the nine proposed members the majority will represent the judiciary and the interests of offenders," he said.

WA Criminal Lawyers Association president Linda Black also questioned whether the plan was constitutional, but said it had merit as judges and magistrates needed to be accountable for their work.

AAP rl

 

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