Federal Court judge accused of bias

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Federal Court judge Alexander Street has been accused of apprehended bias after he rejected more than 250 appeals in migration appeals in just six months.

Two rulings by Judge Street, who is from one of Australia’s most famous legal families, have been subject to appeals and in the Full Federal Court, which has criticised him, the ABC reported yesterday.

Applicants have presented statistics to show that migration decisions had virtually no chance of success within the six month period this year.  Of 254 rulings, the statistics showed that 252 appeals were rejected, ruling in favour of the immigration minister on nearly every case.

Judge Street has already been the subject of such criticism when two appeals against his decisions denying litigant procedural fairness were successful.

The Street family has produced three NSW chief justices, Judge Street’s father, Sir Laurence Street, served as chief justice between 1974 and 1988.

According to the ABC, Judge Streets appointment into the Federal Circuit Court judiciary attracted media attention when it was revealed that he faced possible bankruptcy and was in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

The eight judges on the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney delivered 357 cases between them from January to June this year, while Judge Street delivered 286 cases himself, within the same period.
  • Ross on 14/09/2015 8:36:17 AM

    The federal court is littered with untenable migration cases. Has anyone done the analysis to determine how hopeless the cases were.

  • Christopher on 12/09/2015 12:55:43 AM

    It looks like the appointment from AG Brandis is doing what was expected of him.

  • Anon on 11/09/2015 7:15:12 PM

    @Ronald: If it were the other way round, the Minister's lawyers would comment.

  • Ronald on 11/09/2015 2:01:01 PM

    Obviously something has gone wrong here.
    But I am sure if the figures were round the other way the legal profession would have made no comment.

  • Hanna R on 11/09/2015 11:21:58 AM

    I think the headline is a little misconceived. It's hardly news when a judge is accused of bias.

    What is new is the use of statistical information to support the case, the fact they got the editor of the FLR to swear an affidavit and the fact that a higher court has set aside judgments on that basis.

    I'm wondering whether a drive for efficiency is a personal motivator for Justice Street, or whether he was given the green light by the Attorney-General to get rid of the court backlog so it's not so obvious that the courts are understaffed?

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