Queensland Law Society

QLS welcomes Federal Court judge appointment, but more are needed

Date 27 Mar 2017
Contact Tony Keim
Phone 07 3842 5835
Mobile 0488 433 884
Email media@qls.com.au

Queensland’s peak solicitor body has applauded the appointment of Brisbane silk Roger Derrington as a judge of the Federal Court.

Queensland Law Society President Christine Smyth said Mr Derrington, SC, was a highly qualified and respected barrister and a popular lawyer among Brisbane-based solicitors.

“We have no doubt he will be a terrific judge and the Queensland legal community welcomes his appointment with open arms," Ms Smyth said.

“QLS has campaigned long and hard for the appointment of additional Federal Court judges so any new appointment is welcomed.

“However, Queensland is in desperate need of at least five more Circuit and Family Court judges to help cope with the crushing backlog that is causing considerable hardship and heartache for far too many Queensland families."

Mr Derrington’s appointment was one of two announced by the Federal Government late Friday – with a second judge to be based in Sydney.

Mr Derrington will take up his position at the Brisbane Federal Court on Wednesday (Mar 29).

More than a year ago QLS commenced its campaign calling on the Federal Government to rectify the lack of judges sitting in Queensland.

"We had called for the Federal Government to appoint at least two judges – one to the Federal Circuit Court and another to the Family Court – to south-east Queensland in order for Brisbane to cope with the region's overwhelming workload," Ms Smyth said.

The Society had revealed the much-needed two appointments could be funded out of the Federal Government’s announced savings measures to provide additional funding to court operations.

Also pointed out by the Society at the time was that 2015-16 Federal Budget measures would result in greater priority of funds to frontline court services meant up to an additional five judges could be appointed in Queensland.

Ms Smyth said: “Statewide, Queensland will now have 13 Federal Circuit judges and only three Family Court trial judges for a population of 4.8 million people.”

“Our Queensland lawyers report very long delays for trial dates – often up to two years – in both courts and a shrinking pool of legal aid for family law matters. Even after getting a trial date, there are often delays in judgments bringing closure – 18 months is not uncommon.”

Ms Smyth said QLS stands ready to engage with the Attorney-General George Brandis on the issue of resourcing and work through the need in Queensland.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Tony Keim on 07 3842 5835, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, media@qls.com.au