THE QUEENSLAND Attorney-General, Linda Lavarch, resigned from her post amid controversial circumstances last week, citing a battle with depression as the cause.
The first female Attorney-General in Queensland, Lavarch had reportedly struggled with allegations levelled against her that her handling of the prosecution of infamous doctor Jayant Patel, dubbed ‘Dr Death’, had been flawed.
Lavarch’s resignation follows reports of the unusually high prevalence of depression in the law, first reported by Lawyers Weekly in September.
The inaugural Tristan Jepson Memorial Lecture, held in the Supreme Court of New South Wales as a joint initiative of the University of NSW and the University of Technology, Sydney, revealed that from 105 professions surveyed, lawyers ranked as the most depressed.
The disease was three times more likely to occur in the legal profession than the general population, according to research conducted by leading Canadian psychiatrist Dr Mamta Gautum MD, FRCP(C).
Lavarch told the public she was standing down due to “a major depressive episode”.
“After consultation with my doctor, my husband Michael and my family, I have decided that resignation from the ministry and a period of sick leave from my parliamentary duties is the best course,” she said.
“This will allow me to receive treatment while providing the state with certainty.”
The Minister for Education, Rod Welford, is to take over the role until a Labor caucus meeting at the end of the month.
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