When observing legal doings in our current day, the thought often strikes me “What would Judge Willis do?” – if he hadn’t sailed from our shores 172 years ago, that is. As a Judge with a keen interest in his brother judges and the government of the day, I think he’d be very interested in what’s going on in Queensland at the moment.
You may remember that there was much controversy over the former Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie’s appointment of Tim Carmody to the Chief Justice position. Tim Carmody was the Chief Magistrate, so that was quite a leap up the judicial ladder. The President of the Bar Association resigned in protest at the appointment. Of course, there has been an election in the meantime, and a new if rather precarious government elected.
So, how will this controversially-appointed Chief Justice go? I wonder.
The Guardian has an interesting article by Richard Ackland, which reports some eye-brow raising comments made in a valedictory speech by retiring and well-respected Supreme Court judge, Alan Wilson. After thanking the Chief Justice for making the space available for the farewell function, he said that he would not have embarked on the proceeding if the Chief Justice had been presiding. But that was not the end of it, he said:
I wish to say some more things that will colour these proceedings in a way with which some may disagree, or find upsetting. I have agonised about this. In saying what follows I speak entirely for myself, and express only my own views and opinions without the foreknowledge or approval of any of the judges. None of them has seen these remarks, in draft or at all. I want to speak about the leadership of the court.
The speech is available in full here, and well worth a read.
I think Judge Willis would be in his element.