find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
NT judicial appointments inconsistent, lacking process

NT judicial appointments inconsistent, lacking process

A review of the Northern Territory's judicial system found several inconsistencies in the process for judicial appointments, including cases where Attorney-General John Elferink had a “direct role” in selecting magistrates and judges.

The review – conducted by former Supreme Court of South Australia chief justice John Doyle; Aviation Australia director Julie-Anne Schafer; and barrister Michael Grant QC – recommended the government revert to independent panels for judicial selection.

This was the norm before 2012, the review noted, but the process changed after the election of the Country Liberal Party, with Mr Elferink assuming “a direct role in the initial assessment process”.

While a panel was convened to identify candidates for one judicial vacancy, Mr Elferink “did not seek any determination from the panel as to preferred candidate or candidates” it stated.

“The Attorney-General subsequently submitted a candidate to Cabinet for endorsement,” the review found.

In another case, Mr Elferink removed himself from the selection process because of an affiliation with one of the candidates for a magistrate’s position.

For a further magistrate’s appointment in July 2013, Mr Elferink submitted a name previously recommended by the selection committee for a different position to cabinet without further consultation.

The review suggested that a lack of clear process could create “confusion” around judicial appointments.

“The process for judicial appointments should be, to the extent practicable, uniform, public, and followed (or at least not departed from without that circumstance being made public and an explanation provided),” it stated.

It recommended the Northern Territory adopt a formal protocol for appointments, whereby an independent panel assesses candidates without the involvement of the attorney-general in initial stages.

The panel would consist of a retired superior court judge, the solicitor-general and the CEO of the department of the attorney-general.

“The identification of a person having the qualifications that merit appointment, without the direct involvement of the Attorney- General at that stage, has the benefit of providing an independent assessment to the Attorney-General and, ultimately, to Cabinet,” the review found.

Given the Northern Territory’s small size, the review recommended the panel being convened on an as-needs basis.

The review was called for after controversy surrounding magistrate Peter Maley, who was appointed in September 2013 and resigned following allegations he had accepted money in exchange for access to government documents.

The Law Society of the Northern Territory welcomed the outcome of the review.

“The Society supports the formal adoption of the recommendations as they will improve openness and transparency in the process of judicial appointments, public confidence in individual appointments and in turn public confidence in the justice system,” president Tass Liveris said.

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

NT judicial appointments inconsistent, lacking process
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
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 & ...