Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
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Swearing-in Federal Magistrate Howard Print E-mail

intro_law_books.jpgOn 30 July 2007, His Honour Federal Magistrate Paul Howard was sworn in as a Federal Magistrate during a ceremony in the Commonwealth Law Courts. The Association was represented at the ceremony by President, Hugh Fraser QC whose speech is reproduced below.

On behalf of the Queensland Bar Association and the Australian Bar Association, it is my pleasure to welcome your Honour as a Federal Magistrate.

As has been noted, your Honour Federal Magistrate Howard was admitted as a barrister of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1990, after some 3 years as a solicitor before that.

Apart from your Honour’s experience in succession law, your Honour had considerable experience at the bar in personal injuries cases, and your Honour appeared in Family Law cases, particularly over the past 3 years or so. Your Honour has also participated in professional affairs in family law matters.

In preparation for these words, I made enquiries in an attempt to find some embarrassing anecdote, even some mildly embarrassing anecdote, so that I could take advantage of your Honour’s captive position in this ceremony.

Unfortunately, no one had a bad word to say about your Honour.

Instead, your Honour has a reputation for being kind and relatively quiet.

Whether your Honour’s quietness in your former chambers was relative only to your chamber colleagues, not all of whom are usually described as “quiet”, was not made clear to me.

What was emphasised, however, was your Honour’s calmness.

Perhaps this calmness explains why your Honour was not unduly anxious always to beat your instructing solicitors to work. I am told, in fact, that your Honour was not known as one of those anxious, unconfident barristers who arrived before dawn and left after midnight.

A result of this approach was that, so I am told, your Honour was not always in chambers to take unreasonably early phone calls from instructing solicitors, such as at, say, 9 a.m.
It appears indeed that such were your Honour’s opening hours, at least in the eyes of one particular instructing solicitor, that you became known in his firm as “the banker”.

It says something about your Honour’s abilities, however, that this firm, like others, continued to bank on your Honour.

In any case your Honour has now joined a court in which the working hours do not resemble those of a bank in the least.

 In this court in which unrepresented litigants are common and the disputes sometimes tense, your Honour’s courtesy and calming influence doubtless will be valuable attributes.

Having regard to your Honour’s qualifications, and especially, we would submit, in light of your Honour’s some 17 years at the Bar, there are grounds for confidence that your Honour will rise to meet the challenge that this very busy and expanding Court presents.

In doing so your Honour is entitled to expect and, I assure the Court, your Honour will receive, the Bar’s full and unstinting support.

May it please the Court.

Hugh Fraser QC


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