Reproduced from @TheHeraldSun Friday 10 October 2008 | by Norrie Ross …
|Barristers ‘not up to the job’
INCOMPETENT and poorly trained barristers are denying their clients justice, according to a former Supreme Court judge.
George Hampel, QC, said some barristers were so bad, their short-comings would open them to negligence lawsuits if they didn’t have immunity from being sued.
The Monash University law professor said every state Bar should rigorously assess a lawyer’s competence before allowing them to work as barristers.
“The overall quality of barristers in Australia is good, but a significant minority … do not have sufficient skills and should not be representing clients.” he said.
“Judges are constantly reporting cases of barristers showing insufficient preparation, legal research, knowledge of basic case law, legislation and advocacy skills.
“Ultimately, the people who suffer are clients, who face a serious risk of injustice.”
He called on the legal profession to enforce better training and assessment of potential barristers.
Prof Hampel was on the Supreme Court bench from 1983 to 2000 and presided over a number of high profile criminal cases, including the plea and sentencing of the Hoddle St mass killer, Julian Knight.
He was a barrister for 25 years before becoming a judge.
His views caused surprise at the Victorian Bar.
Council chairman Peter Riordan, SC, said incompetent barristers would not get work.
He said barristers were briefed by solicitors and were under constant scrutiny as they did their work in open courts.
“If you don’t do a good job, you don’t get briefed again,” Mr Riordan said.
“The client has a solicitor and the solicitor knows who the right barristers are for the job.
“We have people who leave the Bar every year because its a competitive environment.”
Mr Riordan said he expected a national system
of training and exams for barristers to be introduced next year.
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Of course, it is not just the “clients” of Barristers who are not up to the job that suffer. More than likely, as I discovered to my own personal horror and have seen multiple times since, it is the “unrepresented” or “self-represented” litigants who are more likely to suffer injustice at the hands of lawyers against them, lawyers who ‘are not up to the job’ skills wise, ethics wise or judgement wise. And the “unrepresented” or “self-represented litigant, he or she who can’t afford a lawyer and whom the State refuses to give one, likely to find that the judge is more likely to be aiding and abetting their lawyer mates at the court than caring about the rights or justice entitlements of some total stranger litigant whom none of those lawyers have seen before or are likely to ever see again. After all, the solicitors, the barristers, the judge, they share a workplace, and probably share/d a university class, a high school, a post code, and possibly multiple relatives – either by blood or marriage, or both, just like all their parents probably did share those things, before them, and their parents’ parents before that, and so on, all the way back up the begatting tree).
Yes, I was stripped clean, and then stripped some more, by the worst sorts of throat cutting riverboat pirates dressed up as lawyers, brandishing legal credentials and fraudulently written up legal writs – lying claims without a skerrick of evidence collected first, after, or even at all, to back up any of the false claims. And mountains of evidence and illegalities to refute them (including police apprehensions and judicial findings of aggravated burglary (to steal and destroy evidence) and perjuries and other lies by the emotionally and mentally ill false claimant.
These initial raiders even accredited specialists at what they do by that den of injustice and corruption known as the Law Institute of Victoria Limited ACN (the statutory authority of the same name was abolished, and even the use of the name “Law Institute of Victoria” was, er, outlawed, by the Kennett Government in Victoria in the late 1990s (an amazing political achievement and unprecedented public service by then Premier Jeff Kennett and his men), only for the lawyerocracy to be renewed, and reinvigorated, and even handed back the “Law Institute of Victoria” moniker, by the corrupt Bracks-Brumby-Hulls Labor Victorian administration in the middle of their decade of reign of abysmal government corrupt and failure: click here for more information.
And on the ‘birds of a feather flock together’ principle (“noscitor associas” as per the Latin legal maxim familiar to lawyers, B-grade vampires and Hogswart students) what about the situation where the solicitor briefing the barrister is not up to the job either (a far from unusual occurence)? And just to complete the unholy trinity, what about the situation (common in family law cases) where the third kind of lawyer in the mix, the judge, is ‘not up to the job’ either? Perhaps that explains why there are few repeat clients for family law clients (Australia’s family law courts are a notorious warren of barratry, champetry and maintenance, of theft, death and destruction), and no incentive for barrister, nor solicitor, nor judge to keep the customer happy (quite the opposite incentive system in fact, even without factoring in the incentives created by the government’s lopsided $4 billion per annum of taxpayer funds pumped into the family law courts, and its family lawyers pockets – the equivalent of $40,000 per family every year that is processed by that corrupt, unconstitutional, killer institution. And the suggestion that any part of the legal industry is competitive (ie low barriers to entry, easy and low cost access, and well informed, evenly matched buyers and sellers – bit a sly piece of misleading and deceptive misstatment there, by the then Chair of the Victorian Bar Association, Mr Peter Riordan, if the suggestion weren’t so laughably too absurb to be taken seriously by anybody with an ounce or two of intellect).
As to how far, how often, and how unaccountably lawyers (solicitors, barristers, judges) can let you down … more about this at the Lawyerocracy on Trial Hearings, 55 King Street Melbourne (the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal), beginning at 10.00 am on 21 May 2012 – click here for more information.
… to be continued …
James Johnson, Independent Federal Candidate for Lalor