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Public comments by judges of their colleagues: an unhappy Australian episode
journal contributionposted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by Matthew GrovesMatthew Groves
There are few formal or clear rules governing when and why judges may make public statements outside their official duties. The conventions which govern public statements by judges are general in nature and proceed upon the assumption that judges can and should avoid controversial issues when they speak publicly. That assumption does not anticipate instances where the issue in question is about a fellow judge, or the very court on which a judge sits. What can or should judges say when one of their colleagues or their own court is what they wish to speak about? Can judges avoid controversy in such cases? What should they do? This article examines those issues by reference to the public statements made by many judicial officers during the controversy about the appointment and tenure of the former Chief Justice of Queensland, the Hon Timothy Carmody.