27 Sep 2012

Bill could put judges at greater risk - Law Society

12:08 pm on 27 September 2012

The Law Society has warned a bill requiring judges to reveal their financial interests could put them at greater risk.

It told Parliament's justice and electoral select committee on Thursday that the Register of Pecuniary Interests of Judges Bill is misconceived and should not proceed.

Jason McHerron, a member of the Law Society's public and administration law committee, says the Members' Bill promoted by Green MP Kennedy Graham could lead to greater harassment of judges.

Mr McHerron says that view is based on what is already happening.

"We've pointed in the submission to various websites around that consist of essentially compiling, in many cases, quite unreliable information about judges and using that as the basis for various smear campaigns against particular judges."

Jason McHerron says the potential conflicts of interests judges face are more likely to be linked to their associations and friendships, rather than to any financial interest they have.

He says the Law Society agrees that better procedures could be put in place to make it more transparent when judges are considering whether they have a conflict of interest.