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Justice Lasry reports compromised complaints process, says Law Institute

Public comments about the complaint made about Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry have alarmed the Law Institute of Victoria.

user iconNaomi Neilson 06 March 2024 Corporate Counsel
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Law Institute chief executive Adam Awty said the recent comments about a decision by Kerri Judd, the Director of Public Prosecutions, to make a report about Justice Lasry has undermined the need for complaints to be kept confidential while an investigation occurs.

“Ensuring that the process is confidential while the allegation is being investigated means that both individuals – the person making the complaint and the person being complained about – are afforded natural justice and are protected,” Awty said.

“Nobody understands more than the legal profession that complaints processes exist to protect the individuals concerned.”


Judd made the complaint to the Judicial Commission of Victoria following Justice Lasry’s ruling on a case against Simiona Tuteru, a truck company boss who was charged with manslaughter for allowing a driver to get behind the wheel while highly intoxicated.

Those charges were replaced with heavy vehicle offences.

In his ruling, Justice Lasry said the prosecutors pursued the manslaughter charges in circumstances where they “must have known” there were no reasonable prospects of success.

The indictment was permanently stayed in March 2023, finding the manner in which the DPP proceeded “means that the unfairness which would be brought upon the accused now outweighs the substantial public interest in the community”.

The Judicial Commission dismissed the complaint earlier this week, having found Justice Lasry was no longer a judicial officer as of Friday night last week, so the investigation could not continue.

Public comments made about this complaint have concerned Awty, who said the legal profession has been working hard to shift the culture around the complaints process so members of the profession feel safe to come forward with concerns about judicial members.

“Like every workplace, the justice sector and courts need to be safe places for everyone, and that includes having a safe environment to make a complaint to the appropriate body, without the fear of victim blaming or having one’s competency questioned,” Awty said.

“We cannot keep perpetuating a culture where people are too scared to make a complaint.”

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