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QC spat gets Ugly

QC spat gets Ugly

There surely can be nothing less edifying than QCs fighting amongst themselves, with the Chief Justice and Attorney General in the middle. But can something good come from all this venom?

The ongoing debate over judicial specialisation has drawn into the Chief Justice Sian Elias and Attorney General Chris Finlayson into a vortex of venom on the NBR online website.The issue began with an attack on the judiciary by Tony Molloy QC, a long time advocate of judicial specialisation and commentator on matters judicial. Molloy's comments included references to the public being "shafted" by the manner in which the judiciary were being used by Chief Justice Elias, a long time opponent of judicial separation.

Molloy's colourful and disrespectful language referenced the fact that "mismatched" judges amounted to fraudulent behaviour, a comment that drew stinging criticism from Attorney General Chris Finlayson, who said Tony Molloy should surrender his Queens' Counsel warrant, calling his criticisms "vulgar and crude".The Finlayson comments also drew their own stinging online criticisms (see below).

Meanwhile, senior Queens Counsel Julian Miles and Bruce Gray stepped into the fray with a letter to the National Business Review which referenced Tony Molloy's "outrageous criticisms" and "vituperative abuse" of judges and references to their being out of depth and self important.

The letter echoed comments made by Law Society president Jonathan Temm who called for restraint in the manner in which the debate was handled and spoke of the Law Commission steps currently being taken to consider the specialisation issue.The issue has developed in recent years driven by barristers and others, including long-time specialisation proponent Anthony Grant.

Bar Association president Miriam Dean QC also called for restraint and criticised Tony Molloy's comments, or at least the manner in which they were expressed.Attorney General Chris Finlayson has himself suggested there should be judicial specialisation and has himself supported comments made on the matter by Tony Molloy.

Read more at LawFuel -


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