Tim Carmody
Tim Carmody Chris Ison

Top barristers urge Carmody to refuse post

JUST days after Queensland's Chief Justice asked for solidarity within the legal fraternity, the state's top barristers have asked his successor to turn down the position.

Outgoing Chief Justice Paul de Jersey on Friday weighed into the ongoing debate surrounding Chief Magistrate Tim Carmody's appointment for the first time.

Justice de Jersey, who will become Queensland's next Governor in a matter of days, said he chose to speak because "the stability of the legal system is integral to our democratic system and must be maintained".

His comments followed much dissent within legal circles - including provocative comments from Court of Appeal Justice John Muir at a bar association function last week.

In a statement released on Monday morning, the Bar Association of Queensland suggested Judge Carmody could still bow out despite publicly accepting the Chief Justice role.

"Many people now have questioned the government's decision and some have publicly invited Judge Carmody to refuse the high office for which the Government has selected him," the statement read.  

"The Bar Association also respectfully asks that he reconsider whether to take up the position of Chief Justice."

The association fears Judge Carmody's rise to the role will "damage the Supreme Court of Queensland and the public confidence in it".

The organisation, whose members are among the greatest legal minds in Queensland, lost its president Peter Davis in recent weeks over the leadership debate.

Today they have publicly criticised the Newman Government's process for appointment Judge Carmody.

"With that power comes the responsibility to make appointments that serve to maintain the public confidence essential to the proper functioning of the courts'" the statement said. 

"Importantly neither the appointment itself nor the manner in which it is promoted or defended should allow the judicial office to appear to have become politicised.

"That is especially so for the leadership position of Chief Justice.

"The Office of the Chief Justice of Queensland, the highest judicial office of the state, commands and is to be afforded the highest respect by all, especially by lawyers.

"The bar association has always given that office that respect and will continue to do so into the future, despite the association's concerns as expressed below.

"The recent announcements of the government's selection of Judge Carmody as the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland, and the manner in which that decision has been promoted and defended, has resulted in widely held concerns about the appointment which are serving to damage the Supreme Court of Queensland and the public confidence in it.

"The government's decision, the processes employed and the manner in which it was promoted, did not have the support of the bar association, then or now."