Legal judgements can take time.
However, in some circumstances, it appears that judgements, or indeed justice, is taking too much time.
Considering the enormous effect that a single judgement can have on an individual’s life, it is understandable that a judge would take some time to deliberate.
However, the Judicial Commission of NSW is making clear that reasonable expectations of timeliness and professionalism are not to be flaunted.
Last week, the Commission released a report outlining the unsatisfactory conduct of a District Court Judge and calling for his removal.
The report details numerous complaints and accounts of misconduct, including ‘unacceptable’ delays, false assertions, and a refusal to undergo psychiatric assessment.
To more adequately put you in the picture, the term “unacceptable delays” is in reference to once instance where the delivery of a judgement took almost three years from the hearing of the matter.
To put that in perspective, in the State of New South Wales, you have a limit of three years just to commence court proceedings for personal injury claims from the date of injury.
So were a judgement delivery three years after the matter was heard, and the matter had only been brought on the three years from the injury occurring, well, a lot can happen, and a lot of circumstances can change in such a long time.
Section 56 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Act is clear: the purpose of the rules of court is to facilitate just, quick, and cheap resolution of proceedings.
It is never a bad time to remember that Court proceedings are not to be delayed unnecessarily, and normally, that would be thought to apply primarily to parties and solicitors to any matter.
But when you think about it, facilitating just, quick and cheap proceedings applies to almost any individual involved in any Court proceedings.
It remains to be seen whether the NSW Governor and Parliament seek to remove the judicial officer.
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