11 May 2012

Attorney-General disputes judge shortage claim

3:42 pm on 11 May 2012

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson says he is satisfied with the number of District Court judges he is appointing.

Chief District Court Judge Jan-Marie Doogue has said an impending shortage of judges poses a significant risk for the courts.

In a letter to Mr Finlayson released by the Labour Party, Jan-Marie Doogue disputes Justice Ministry estimates of 23 surplus District Court judges in upcoming years.

She says a significant number of judges leaving next year won't be replaced, and retirements from 2018 pose a significant risk for District Courts, with an increase in workloads and delays.

Mr Finlayson says correspondence between the judiciary and the Attorney-General is confidential and it was disgraceful of Labour Party MP Charles Chauvel to have leaked the letter.

Neither Mr Finlayson nor the Law Society would comment on the letter's contents.