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The joke of our legal system

By johnboy - 22 December 2012 32

The Canberra Times is letting Crispin Hull off the leash to give Canberra’s Supreme Court a going over.

Otherwise, I am afraid, the torpid languor of one hand will continue to wash the drowsy procrastination of the other.

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32 Responses to
The joke of our legal system
banco 6:09 pm 24 Dec 12

Wilco said :

bundah

Appointing two additional judges at $402K each per annum (which is in excess of $1m per year with oncost) would be an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ funds.

Crispin’s article contains some helpful statistics. It wouldn’t take much effort to make some comparisons with inter-state jurisdictions, review the performance of those who currently grace the Bench in Knowles Place (and elsewhere), and deal with those who can’t cut the mustard. The ACT taxpayer (and voter) deserves nothing less!

How much do they piss away on other things (like the belconnen community centre that nobody seems to use for example)? It seems like having a functioning justice system is a pretty fundamental thing for a Government.

Wilco 5:31 pm 24 Dec 12

bundah

Appointing two additional judges at $402K each per annum (which is in excess of $1m per year with oncost) would be an outrageous waste of taxpayers’ funds.

Crispin’s article contains some helpful statistics. It wouldn’t take much effort to make some comparisons with inter-state jurisdictions, review the performance of those who currently grace the Bench in Knowles Place (and elsewhere), and deal with those who can’t cut the mustard. The ACT taxpayer (and voter) deserves nothing less!

bundah 12:53 pm 24 Dec 12

Wilco said :

bundah said :

The simple reality is that the judiciary have underperformed for years and we can crap on about it ad infinitum however until the guvmint(who need to be reminded that their job it is to represent the citizens) take steps to appoint two additional judges our unacceptable judicial state of affairs will remain BROKE FFS.Blaming the judges,some of whom have been woeful,won’t fix anything.What’s more one cannot get rid off them unless they’re snorting coke at their bench in full view of the public.

It’s time to stop procrastinating Simple Simon and act now!

Not quite true bundah. Throwing even more taxpayers’ money at the problem fails to address the root cause. S5 of the Judicial Commissions Act 1994 (ACT) gives the Attorney some options in dealing with the underperformers. But that path will require some intestinal fortitude on the part of our elected representatives.

It just might be possible that those concerned (and it’s not only in the Supreme Court) feel so guilty about taking public monies in such circumstances that they’d do the decent thing and fall on their swords – or is that an airborne porcine squadron that I glimpse passing by my window?

In order to address the root cause one would have to undertake a comprehensive review to get to the bottom of the problem and christ knows how long that would take let alone implement change.In the meantime it’s simple arithmetic more judicial officers means more cases can be dealt with,bugger the expense!

Wilco 12:01 pm 24 Dec 12

bundah said :

The simple reality is that the judiciary have underperformed for years and we can crap on about it ad infinitum however until the guvmint(who need to be reminded that their job it is to represent the citizens) take steps to appoint two additional judges our unacceptable judicial state of affairs will remain BROKE FFS.Blaming the judges,some of whom have been woeful,won’t fix anything.What’s more one cannot get rid off them unless they’re snorting coke at their bench in full view of the public.

It’s time to stop procrastinating Simple Simon and act now!

Not quite true bundah. Throwing even more taxpayers’ money at the problem fails to address the root cause. S5 of the Judicial Commissions Act 1994 (ACT) gives the Attorney some options in dealing with the underperformers. But that path will require some intestinal fortitude on the part of our elected representatives.

It just might be possible that those concerned (and it’s not only in the Supreme Court) feel so guilty about taking public monies in such circumstances that they’d do the decent thing and fall on their swords – or is that an airborne porcine squadron that I glimpse passing by my window?

alllenthough 7:47 pm 23 Dec 12

People back off. Do you realize how hard it is to get anything done after a two hour lunch at the Canberra Club. Also the almost do similar work year to a uni student, seem to be on sabbatical or holiday more than court

bundah 6:45 pm 23 Dec 12

The simple reality is that the judiciary have underperformed for years and we can crap on about it ad infinitum however until the guvmint(who need to be reminded that their job it is to represent the citizens) take steps to appoint two additional judges our unacceptable judicial state of affairs will remain BROKE FFS.Blaming the judges,some of whom have been woeful,won’t fix anything.What’s more one cannot get rid off them unless they’re snorting coke at their bench in full view of the public.

It’s time to stop procrastinating Simple Simon and act now!

Wilco 5:25 pm 23 Dec 12

Totally agree. I know of at least one very able local lawyer who was recommended for judical appointment only to be rejected after the post selection committee politico – bureaucratic review. In the ACT, politics, personalities and the application of the Buggin’s Turn Rule count for more than an ability to actually do the job, it seems.

switch 5:02 pm 23 Dec 12

breda said :

… would have a much more practical approach and be far too productive.

Fixed that for you.

breda 4:24 pm 23 Dec 12

A telling statistic from Hull’s article:

” This year (now almost over) the court has delivered 178 judgments, 42 of which came from non-resident judges. That leaves 136 judgments from the four residents and the Master – roughly 27 each or about one a fortnight.

That is not a big load, especially when you look at the nature of most of the judgments. Thirty-seven were appeals from the Magistrates Court which can (and mostly are) disposed of fairly quickly.”

I’d be interested in statistics from other jurisdictions, but have to say that on the face of it, one written judgement a fortnight is not unreasonable. It’s not as if the courts sit from 9 to 5. You have to wonder how these people ever got their assignments done when at university.

Without naming names, I have known two of these judges for decades, and admit that they would not have been my choice for the job. They are bright and conscientious, but I agree with Hull that people with lots of experience at churning out opinions promptly (such as many senior barristers) would have a much more practical approach and be far more productive.

Affirmative Action M 9:25 am 23 Dec 12

I can’t for the life of me understand why judges are not required by legislation to deliver a judgement on a completed case within a certain time frame (say 28 days).

2 years and still no judgement delivered !! A complete joke.

banco 10:32 pm 22 Dec 12

bundah said :

One has to wonder how long it will take Corbell to realise that his fatuous attitude is plainly WRONG and appoint an additional two Supreme Court judges to resolve this fiasco FFS!

I think his reluctance partly stems from the suspicion that the problem is as much with the personnel as it is with structure. An extra judge may just encourage certain judges to go about their cases in an even more languid matter because hey there’s an extra judge now so no need to rush. If you had different judges you might not need an extra judge.

deepsouf 8:14 pm 22 Dec 12

We are beyond laughing about Canberra’s legal fraternity. The situation has gotten tragic. The unprecedented event of the Bar formally complaining about Justice Refshauge demonstrates that.

People are waiting 12 months for their case to be heard and another 6-12 months for judges to make a decision (or 4 years for that poor soul). Some of these people are desperate and went to the courts to find justice. Almost all commercial work is being filed in the Federal Court because they hear and decide cases within 12 months. One questions how ACT judges can take years to decide cases about car crashes and everyday criminal matters.

Hull’s article suggests what most believe is the answer: the good lawyers in Canberra aren’t being appointed (or aren’t accepting appointment) to the bench. His reference to the recent decision of the Court of Appeal (comprising interstate judges) overturning our Justice Penfold is a good example. She took two years to decide a personal injury case, and even then didn’t calculate damages, and was overturned. There was much controversy over her appointment in 2007 given she was a career public servant who never actually practiced law. Now she is frontrunner to be the next Chief Justice.

I know we are not meant to say anything ill about judges, but they have a responsibility to the community and Canberrans are being severely let down.

bundah 5:47 pm 22 Dec 12

One has to wonder how long it will take Corbell to realise that his fatuous attitude is plainly WRONG and appoint an additional two Supreme Court judges to resolve this fiasco FFS!

bobb 4:22 pm 22 Dec 12

There is absolutely no chance people with a disability would get justice, especially against a government agency, in a legal system like this. A dysfunctional legal system damages any prospects for disability service reforms. What use is a legal system that can’t help the people who most need it?

Wilco 3:22 pm 22 Dec 12

Crispin is on point in this piece, especially with his remarks about some of the judges suffering from what might be called Magna Carta-ism – the urge to write the definitive judgment covering every bit of the law on an area going back to the Magna Carta; and the Government’s failure to make good appointments in recent times.

If Simon Corbell is anything like fair dinkum, to quote Crispin’s words, he “needs to find good lawyers’ lawyers – people who have had at least a decade and a half at the Bar writing opinions and advocating in the courts in a variety of matters and who have the respect of their peers. All other considerations (including gender and political affiliations) should be put aside”.

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