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Lawyers Complaints Service: Censured for intemperate comments about judges and justice system

06 December 2013

Auckland lawyer Dr Tony Molloy QC has been censured by the National Standards Committee (NSC) for comments about judges and the justice system that were not made in a reasoned and temperate manner. The determination is subject to review by the Legal Complaints Review Officer.

Dr Molloy made the comments while putting forward a proposal that the High Court would benefit from judicial specialisation.

“The NSC was of the view that the issue of judicial specialisation was worthy of debate and it accepted that Dr Molloy’s views were honestly held and were made in good faith,” the committee’s decision states.

“However any comments should be made in a reasoned and temperate manner (to be adjudged on the individual circumstances in each case).”

If they were not made this way, the conduct may contravene a lawyer’s obligation under s4 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 and rule 2 of the Rules of Conduct and Client Care, which state that one of the “fundamental obligations” of lawyers is to “uphold the rule of law and to facilitate the administration of justice in New Zealand”.

The committee said it considered that some of the reported comments of Dr Molloy in an article entitled New Zealanders shafted by fraudulent justice system, says top QC, published in the National Business Review on 29 August 2012, were not expressed in a reasoned and temperate manner.

Comments of Dr Molloy alleging a fraudulent justice system and alleging that judges were flouting their oaths and were sitting under false pretences were decisive in the NSC reaching this view.

These comments included the following:

“This is not an attack on the competence of judges, but on their delusions of omnicompetence.”

“How would you like your brain surgery done by a gynaecologist or by an orthopaedic surgeon?”

“You would balk at the stupidity of putting yourself in the hands of someone working outside his field, yet New Zealand lawyers and judges do it all the time.”

“For the so-called justice system to charge daily hearing fees for judges so badly mismatched to the cases in hand is fraudulent.”

“What judges are doing is very wrong. They take an oath to administer justice according to the law.”

“If they don’t know the law applicable to the case before them, it means they are already flouting their oath, which is pretty rich when it is considered that they can put witnesses in jail for flouting their oaths.”

“But every High Court judge today is out of his or her depth in many fields of the law, and accordingly is sitting under false pretences when he or she is sitting in those fields.”

“The law is being corrupted for want of judicial specialisation.”

As well as the censure, the NSC ordered Dr Molloy pay $1,000 costs.

Last updated on the 17th March 2016