Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Marilyn Warren
Chief Justice Marilyn Warren. HWT Image Library
VICTORIA'S Chief Justice, Marilyn Warren, has asked Attorney-General Rob Hulls to consider a radical change to the way Victoria's judges are appointed.
In response to a Sunday Herald Sun invitation to respond to the Attorney-General's mooted changes to judicial appointments, Ms Warren says Victoria should consider adopting the system used to appoint federal judges.

How should judges be appointed? Have your say in a comment below.

"I have encouraged the Victorian Attorney-General to examine the federal system for a little while now," she writes in Sunday Herald Sun.
Judicial appointments to the Federal Court are made on the advice of an advisory panel of retired judges and public servants. Ms Warren writes: "Importantly the process has assisted in the expedition of appointments at a federal level."
The system in Victoria, in which judges are appointed by the Attorney-General after an informal consultation process, Ms Warren acknowledges has been criticised as being "too informal, too secretive and taking too long".
Despite that, she defends the current system:
"For many people, taking on the role of a judge involves giving up a successful career with a large income and losing personal freedom."
But Ms Warren says the advantages of the current system "far outweigh the negatives and most people feel honoured and privileged to be offered judicial appointment and accept the approach".
Last week, Mr Hulls announced plans to make prospective judges undergo training
New judges might also be required to undergo health checks to make sure they were mentally and physically fit enough to withstand the rigours of long trials.

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