New Protocol to raise concerns about judicial conduct in Commonwealth courts
The Australian Bar Association has entered into a new protocol enabling members of the Bar to raise concerns about judicial conduct in the Federal Court of Australia, the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
Modelled on the protocol that the Victorian Bar agreed with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria in October 2018, and protocols since agreed with the heads of jurisdiction of the County Court of Victoria, the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria and the Children’s Court, the Commonwealth Courts protocol provides a mechanism for barristers to raise with the President of the Australian Bar Association, or alternatively the President of their local Bar, concerns about judicial conduct they have experienced or witnessed in Commonwealth courts, as an alternative to making a formal complaint.
The options available to members of our Bar who have experienced or witnessed inappropriate judicial conduct are outlined in the Bar’s Judicial Conduct Policy. That policy, together with the court protocols and the appointment of two Judicial Conduct Advisers are important parts of our response to the findings in last year’s Wellbeing at the Victorian Bar report.
In their first year of operation, the policy and protocols have proved to be useful mechanisms that enable members to raise grievances and concerns in an informal way, as well as to receive advice and guidance. Court and Bars in other jurisdictions have been watching closely and developing their own policies based on ours—a good example of inter-jurisdictional collaboration.
I am grateful to all who participated for their willingness to engage in an open, frank and constructive dialogue about these difficult issues and especially, in respect of the new protocol, Federal Court Chief Justice Allsop, Family Court Chief Justice Alstergren and ABA President Jennifer Batrouney QC.
Advanced Trial Advocacy – ‘early bird’ ends 30 September
A reminder to members that if you wish to take advantage of the ‘early bird’ registration discount for the Advocacy Training Council’s renowned Advanced Trial Advocacy Intensive in January, please register by 30 September 2019. As I have said before, the Intensive is a world-class advocacy course, that I commend to all members, at whatever level of seniority, as a means of honing skills.
Please see the notice below for registration details.
Her Honour Judge Carlin
Congratulations to Rosemary Carlin, who has been appointed a judge of the County Court, following 12 years of service as a Magistrate and Coroner.
The profession will extend a welcome to Judge Carlin in Court 3-3 of the County Court on Thursday 3 October at 9.15am.
A busy week
On Monday evening I sat, with Justice Wilson of the Family Court, as a judge of the Melbourne Law School witness examination grand final. The talent on display was terrific to observe.
On Wednesday, Simon Marks QC and I spoke to the Readers’ Course about the issue of oversubscription for the course. There was interesting feedback, which we will bring to the Bar Council’s meeting next week, before reporting back to members.
Yesterday, the Bar’s CEO and Executive tried out the new menu at the Essoign Club, whose kitchen is now in the capable hands of Guillaume Montes, who comes to the Club from a distinguished career that has included service in Michelin Star restaurants and members’ clubs. I’ll have more to say about Guillaume and the Essoign soon, but for now, I can report that lunch was delicious.
I am very much looking forward to attending the Victorian Bar Foundation Prize Ceremony tonight. If last year’s inaugural event was any indication, the winners will be exactly the sort of students who should be considering a career at the Bar, but who may not realise that our doors are open to all on merit. More on that event next week.