Reform needed for Qld judge appointment system

A Coast pensioner has been refused bail after being charged with drug trafficking.
A Coast pensioner has been refused bail after being charged with drug trafficking. Rockhampton Morning Bulletin

THE appointment of Queensland judges needed to be changed, a conference attended by some of the state's highest judicial officers was told yesterday.

The Accountability and the Law conference, held in Brisbane yesterday, heard recent controversy over judicial appointments had shown the system needed to change.

Queensland Law and Justice Institute leader Peter Callaghan said the time for reform had come.

When asked if reform was needed, Mr Callaghan said the answer was "an emphatic yes".

The panel, which also analysed the independence of the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission, suggested a committee or permanent standing commission could provide a shortlist to the attorney-general, who would then make a decision.

Mr Callaghan said the attorney-general could then appoint a judge not shortlisted, but would be expected to be able explain the reasons for their decision.

"This is not about achieving perfection in the results," he said.

"This is just about marginally improving the transparency."

Retired Queensland Supreme Court Justice George Fryberg said, in a paper presented to conference attendees, the current Queensland system was "shrouded in mystery".

He said the current Queensland system, in which the attorney-general advised the governor of appointments, was not laid out in any public documents and was conducted almost entirely behind closed doors. Mr Fryberg pointed to the British appointment system where an independent standing commission was an alternative to the current Queensland method.


Topics:  judge judicial system queensland

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