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Distress part of being a ‘really good’ judge: Chief Kidd

Emotional and intellectual distress is an inevitable part of being a judge, according to Victoria’s County Court chief, Peter Kidd.

A recent study from Melbourne University reported three-quarters of judges are at risk of burnout, and many frequently turn to alcohol to relieve the stress.

Judge Kidd disputed that alcohol was more of an issue in the legal system than other industries.

But he did not shy away from judges becoming distressed on the job, and said nor should his judges.

“I think being a really good, competent, hard-working, skillful judge is not inconsistent with being distressed,” Judge Kidd told Neil Mitchell in a wide-ranging interview.

“The distress is sometimes inevitable and just needs to be worked on.

“A judge can be completely functional, and they are, and so in those circumstances that don’t need to stand down.

“But what they need to do, if they are stressed about a particular case, is have they need to have the opportunity to speak with someone.”

Click PLAY for the full interview