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Family court judge and lawyer caught out over drinks, coffee and text messages

The Family Court Chief Justice is at odds with two of his colleagues as to whether a judge and barrister who met for drinks and coffee and exchanged “numerous” text messages while a case was under way was grounds for ordering a retrial of a protracted family law dispute.

Ross and John, former lawyers themselves, were fascinated by the story, especially considering the case has been spread over many years.

They spoke to the Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at Monash University, Luke Beck, to break down the case and its implications.

He said the ruling didn’t surprise him, despite the lawyer and judge claiming the “substance” of the case was not discussed.

“In the law, if you’re a judge or a lawyer appearing before you judge, you’ve got to make sure everything looks legitimate, not just that everything is in fact legitimate,” he said.

“Justice has to not only be done, but be seen to be done.”

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