find the latest legal job
Part Time Risk & Compliance Officer
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Brisbane City · Flexible Part Time Hours
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Property Lawyer
Category: Property Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· 12 Month Contract · Diverse Work
View details
Family Lawyer
Category: Family Law | Location: Eastern Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Boutique Firm · Great Reputation
View details
Infrastructure Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Perth WA
· We'd be particularly interested to hear from you if you were a lawyer who knows your way around the infrastructure and energy sectors.
View details
Chief Justice confirms separation of powers

Chief Justice confirms separation of powers

The Chief Justice Robert French has spoken out on the "controversial" nature of the relationship and advice given between the Chief Justice and the Governor General of Australia.

THE Chief Justice Robert French has spoken out on the "controversial" nature of the relationship and advice given between the Chief Justice and the Governor General of Australia. 


Despite historical precedents, there is no constitutional standing to entitle a Governor-Gneeral to seek advice from the Chief Justice, Chief Justice Robert French said. 


"If, in some constitutional crisis requiring consideration of the possible exercise of reserve powers, the Governor-General felt the need to seek independent legal advice, there are plainly sources other than the Chief Justice to whom he or she should resort," Chief Justice French said. 


The Chief Justice noted such advice would have no constitutional standing to distinguish it form legal advice received from a senior barrister or a constitutional law expert. 


"It is difficult to conceive of circumstances today in which it would be necessary or appropriate for the Chief Justice to provide legal advice to the Governor-General on any course of action being contemplated by the holder of that office," he said. 


Chief Justice French cited a eulogy in honor of Sir Garfield Barwick, Chief Justice in 1975 when a caretaker government replaced Gough Whitlam's government, delivered in 1997, in which Sir Gerard Brennan, then Chief Justice, referred to Sir Garfield's tendering of advice to Sir John Kerr. 


In the book A Radical Tory, Sir Garfield what had happened at the time. "I responded to a request by the Governor-General for an answer to a question he asked. It was a legal question – not a political question – and its answer did not involve the expression of any political opinion, though of course Sir John's action in withdrawing the ministry's commission was likely to have, and did in fact have, political consequences. 


"Having heard his question and having decided to give the Governor-General an answer to his question, I knew of instances in which a Chief Justice and other judges of the High Court had given legal advice personally to a Governor-General. I knew also that the Chief Justice of the High Court had on an occasion given such advice to a State governor," Sir Garfield wrote. 


Brennan said at the eulogy, however: "It was, and remains, a controversial matter but, if only on that account, will not happen again." Chief Justice French said: "I agree with that sentiment."



Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Chief Justice confirms separation of powers
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Violence
Nov 17 2017
It's time for politicians to commit to eradicating domestic violence
The national shame of domestic violence cannot be left unaddressed, writes Christine Smyth. ...
Nov 16 2017
From lawyer in law firm to senior governance professional
Promoted by Governance Institute of Australia As a law graduate, Kate Griffiths never imagined...
marriage equality
Nov 16 2017
Legislation the next hurdle for marriage equality
Lawyers have underscored the importance of ensuring same-sex marriage legislation does not limit ant...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...