Victoria's courts and their methods for handling complaints about their judges have the full support of the state's lawyers, according to the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV).
The LIV and the Victorian Bar today (26 October) issued a statement saying they stand behind the state's courts despite today's criticisms raised by Diana Karamicov, the young lawyer accused of having an affair with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Jeremy Rapke QC.
Victoria's The Age reported that Karamicov, whose promotion to a senior position at the DPP caused outrage following allegations of the affair, wrote an article for the Journal of Judicial Administration, in which she suggests that the public perception of Chief Judge Michael Rozenes's complaints procedures "may be viewed as the offering of an excuse to protect mates".
Karamicov added that it "cannot be said" that the Supreme Court of Victoria, headed by Chief Justice Marilyn Warren, "makes its complaints procedures known".
However, LIV president Steven Stevens said the complaints raised by Karamicov are unfounded.
"We have confidence in the courts and we do not believe there are problems with the judiciary that are not being dealt with," he said.
Despite this, Stevens said both the LIV and the Victorian Bar support the anticipated Judicial Commission which will overhaul the way judicial complaints are handled.
With a 10-member board, made up of court heads and community members, it will investigate and hear complaints and concerns about judicial officers.
"The courts, the Victorian Bar, the LIV and the government have been working on a new model for independently dealing with complaints about the judiciary for some time. The Judicial Commission Bill put before Parliament has stalled and we urge the new State Government to pass the Bill in the next session," said Stevens.
Vice-Chairman of the Victorian Bar, Mark Moshinsky SC, echoed Steven's sentiments.
"The Victorian judiciary has actively promoted the reform and it has been developed in full consultation with the profession, including the Bar. The result is a process which deals with complaints with the seriousness and fairness they deserve and meets community expectations about how complaints against judicial officers should be dealt with," he said.
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