find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Lawyers defend judicial complaints methods

Lawyers defend judicial complaints methods

A peak body representing Victorian lawyers has steadfastly defended the state's courts and their methods for handling complaints against judges as a lawyer takes a public swipe at the methods.

A peak body representing Victorian lawyers has steadfastly defended the state’s courts and their methods for handling complaints against judges as a lawyer takes a public swipe at the methods. 

A lawyer who the Director of Public Prosecutions, Jeremy Rapke QC, has denied having had a sexual relationship with has turned on the heads of two senior Victorian courts over their complaints system for judges. 

Diana Karamicov, has written an article for the Journal of Judicial Administration in which she suggests the public’s perception of Chief Judge Michael Rozenes’ complaints procedures “may be viewed as the offering of an excuse to protect mates”, The Age newspaper reports. 

But the Law Institute of Victoria, with the Victorian Bar, have rallied together in a bid to dismiss the claims, saying the complaints handling system has full support of the state’s lawyers. 

“We have confidence in the courts and we do not believe there are problems with the judiciary that are not being dealt with,” said LIV president Steven Stevens.

But as they supported the system, the legal professional bodies kept one eye on their own agendas, noting they support an anticipated Judicial Commission. The two bodies have long called for a Commission, which they said should overhaul the way judicial complaints are handled. 

The LIV urged the realisation of a Commission that would independently deal with complaints. 

The LIV cautiously backed an inquiry into complaints about judges and magistrates following concerns about a magistrate's speeding irregularities in July 2009. LIV then president Danny Barlow said at the time that calls for a commission to examine complaints would be worth investigating. 

"It is important to ensure that judges and magistrates are subject to the same type of complaint mechanisms as others," Barlow said. 

“The public must have confidence that the judiciary are also following the rules.”

Barlow said courts should handle complaints according to generally accepted standards in the community.

“We need a modern system of inquiry, not the outdated tell-a-supervisor model.

“The second issue is that only Parliament can dismiss a magistrate.”

As the public eye now turns to Karamicov’s comments, the LIV has taken the opportunity to raise the subject of a Commission again. 

With a 10-member board, made up of court heads and community members, the Commission would 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,” says the LIV’s Stevens.

Vice-Chairman of the Victorian Bar, Mark Moshinsky, S.C. backed his colleague: “The Victorian Bar supports the proposed Judicial Commission and looks forward to it being finalised through the legislative process.

“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,”  Moshinsky said.

“We believe the proposed new complaints body, which was initiated by the judiciary itself and has been publicly supported by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Marilyn Warren, will be effective in dealing with any future issues that arise,” said Stevens.

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

Lawyers defend judicial complaints methods
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Oct 23 2017
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
Oct 23 2017
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
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'...
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...
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 & ...