MEDIA RELEASE - Deja vu as no replacement Federal Circuit Court judge in sight
18 August 2021
One of Newcastle’s three Federal Circuit Court judges has retired, leaving the community in the dark over a future replacement.
Federal Circuit Court judge Janet Terry reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 earlier this month, with no announcement from the Federal Government about her prospective replacement.
“The Federal Government has a responsibility to provide efficient and appropriate judicial and court services to the people of Newcastle,” Ms Claydon said.
Following reports of Judge Terry’s retirement, Ms Claydon wrote to Attorney-General Senator Michaelia Cash on 31 July seeking clarification over the retired judge’s successor.
Ms Claydon stated that she is still waiting to receive a response from Senator Cash on the appointment process.
“This isn’t the first time the Liberal Government has failed to appoint a replacement Federal Circuit Court judge in Newcastle within a timely manner.”
“Last time the Government waited many months to find a replacement, leaving judges with twice the case load and Novocastrians on waitlists for nineteen months, subsequently blowing the backlog out of proportion.”
“I’m sick of the Morrison Liberal government’s inability to forward plan a timely replacement, given they know full well that judges are compelled to retire at the age of 70.”
Ms Claydon said that lives could be put at risk if a replacement for Judge Terry is not actioned immediately, given that many cases involve the trauma of martial breakdown, domestic violence, drug abuse, and child custody disputes.
“The Morrison Government’s failure to find a replacement is deeply distressing for the many families who are already in vulnerable circumstances.”
Ms Claydon stated that the Morrison Government’s negligence will place an extra burden on the already underfunded judicial system.
“Once a replacement judge is installed, there will still be the issue of the massive backlog that has resulted from the Government’s continuous attacks on the Family Court system.”
“With retired judges set to return to the bench to clear the national 7,000 case backlog, the last thing the Hunter region needs is an empty appointment and unnecessary grief for families.”
“I intend to raise this issue in Parliament next week.”