Chief justice, barrister respond to court concerns

A QUEENSLAND barrister has called for calm in the Supreme Court, saying issues needed to be addressed before the court's reputation dwindles.

The state's Bar Association president Shane Doyle QC said public statements made in the past week had confirmed there were "important matters of concern" within the court.

The association issued the statement on Monday afternoon after the state's Chief Justice Tim Carmody wrote a letter to the association and the Queensland Law Society and fellow judges, saying he would not be bullied out of his top job.

His letter came days after retiring judge Alan Wilson said in his outgoing speech that there was a loss of morale in judges and said Mr Carmody had previously referred to judges as "snakes" and "scum".

"Last week, a number of graceless remarks were made by several people about my performance in the office," Mr Carmody wrote in the letter.

"I do not think it fitting for a judge, any judge, to respond to these kinds of public character assessments.

"In addition to that, an assertion was made that I was failing to sit as a chief justice of the Supreme Court should. I do not believe that assertion to be justified."

In responding to Justice Wilson's comments that the chief justice had not published court calendars to show he planned on continuing judge work, Justice Carmody said he was scheduled to sit in regional areas this year including Roma, Townsville, Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Mackay and Maryborough.

"I intend focusing my trial division work in regional Queensland," Justice Carmody wrote in his letter.

In summing up, he said it was time for the destabilisation to end.

"I have appreciated the ongoing support of you and your members but I think the time has come for some plain speaking by the leaders of the legal community who have the best interests of the Supreme Court and the maintenance of the rule of law at heart, and to directly call on those involved to stop the destabilisation."

He admitted there was more he could do to foster a culture of mutual respect and professionalism.

"Professional respect is a two-way street. I accept that."

Mr Doyle said the issues at the heart of the concerns in the system needed to be addressed, not only for the judiciary members, but also for Queenslanders whose respect and confidence in the court must remain.

"It is important that these issues are addressed very soon to avoid damage to the standing of our court and its members," he said.

"The Bar Association (through the vice president and me) is attempting to fully understand the circumstances which give rise to the present issues, and will seek to contribute to a mature and constructive resolution of those issues in whatever way is possible."

- APN NEWSDESK



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