Queensland Law Society

Judicial commission welcome – smearing of judges is not: QLS

Date 17 Sep 2018
Contact External Affairs Division
Phone 07 3842 5835
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email media@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society has lobbied hard for the establishment of a state judicial commission in the past and is disappointed by recent news reports of political players taking cheap shots and effectively slandering Queensland judges.

President Ken Taylor said he was angered to hear commentary that a former Premier had ‘auditioned’ Queensland judges for the role of Chief Justice and believed they were ‘unaccountable’ and ‘aloof’.

“I was shocked to read commentary in the Sunday Mail recounting how judges were unofficially auditioned, along with disparaging comments saying they were not accountable and felt the public did not deserve a say,” Mr Taylor said.

“Our judges and magistrates carry out a difficult job day-in-day-out, and they are privy to all of the evidence – not just the facts that get reported by the media.

“It is unfair – and in fact quite despicable – to attempt to damage their reputation by spreading criticism about their characters, and in general the character of all lawyers.”

Mr Taylor said the Society had been calling for a state judicial commission for many years, which was documented in the Society’s November 2014 Queensland election Call to Parties documents requesting a judicial commission be established.

“We have actually asked for a judicial commission in Queensland in our previous Call to Parties document.

“Surprisingly, when we received a response from the major parties in 2015, the incumbent LNP Government had ‘no plans to alter the current arrangements for appointment to judicial office in Queensland’.

“I find it interesting that certain individuals are now invested in calling for a judicial commission, and choose to accuse the legal fraternity of not being prepared to look at reforms when they were in a position to effect change and chose not to.

“Unfounded criticism does no one any good – in fact, it decreases public faith in a justice system that is working well, with great minds on the job.

“It is also incorrect to say that the legal profession are against reforms as we are consistently working with the government and opposition on the best laws for Queenslanders.”

Mr Taylor said a judicial commission would strengthen public confidence in the administration of justice and also ensure all processes around judicial appointments, conduct and education remained open, transparent and independent.

“We aren’t suggesting that there are major issues with any members of the judiciary, but we are supportive of anything that will strengthen not only public faith in our judges but also protect them from any unfounded allegations.”

A judicial commission can also assist in removing the perception of political appointments, address allegations of judicial misconduct and provide not only independence but ongoing education and support to the judiciary.

“I suggest any naysayers take a good look at the way our judiciary are consistently and ethically running the justice system on a daily basis before choosing to criticise those at the coalface of our profession.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact the External Affairs Division on 07 3842 5835, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, media@qls.com.au.