The president of Queensland’s bar association has resigned over the way Chief Magistrate Tim Carmody was appointed the state’s chief justice.
Queensland’s Bar Association president has resigned over the appointment of Chief Magistrate Tim Carmody to chief justice.
Peter Davis sent a resignation letter on Friday to members citing concerns about the process that resulted in Mr Carmody’s appointment.
Mr Davis criticised the leaking of confidential discussions between him, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie and one of Mr Bleijie’s senior staff about Mr Carmody’s possible selection.
He also said the president of the Bar Association ought to be involved in the process of appointing judges and he had “no faith in the integrity of the process”.
Premier Campbell Newman announced Mr Carmody’s appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, replacing Paul de Jersey, on Thursday.
The appointment was criticised by senior legal figures who questioned Mr Carmody’s experience and closeness to the government.
In his resignation letter, Mr Davis said his move should not be taken as a personal criticism of Mr Carmody, but he was concerned with the process of the appointment.
He said details of a confidential June 3 meeting between himself, Mr Bleijie and Mr Bleijie’s staffer about the chief justice position were leaked.
Mr Davis said his position was that he “did not urge the appointment of Judge Carmody”.
In a recent conversation with Mr Carmody it was evident the judge had been told “the substance of the confidential conversations”.
“The government has said that they consulted widely on the appointment,” Mr Davis wrote.
“My sense though is that there was little, if any, support for the appointment within the legal profession and little, or none, within the ranks of sitting Supreme Court judges.”
Mr Davis said the Bar Association, through its president, ought to be involved in appointing judges.
“As I have no faith in the integrity of the process, I cannot engage further in it,” he said.
Mr Bleijie thanked Mr Davis for his leadership and said he would not engage in “rumour and innuendo”.
“The government consulted extensively and carefully considered all submissions from the legal profession regarding the appointment of the chief justice and the decision was made with the premier on Wednesday afternoon,” Mr Bleijie said in a statement.
“I thank Mr Davis for his leadership and counsel and I will continue to consult with the Bar Association and its new president, whoever is appointed.”
It’s not the first time Mr Bleijie has been accused of leaking confidential discussions with senior legal figures.
Earlier this year, he put Court of Appeal president Margaret McMurdo and other senior lawyers offside by revealing she had recommended her husband, who is a judge, to sit on the court bench.