In a difficult family law matter, the complainant requested corrective action to mitigate the alleged damage caused by a judge.

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In a difficult family law matter, the complainant requested corrective action to mitigate the alleged damage caused by a judge. She felt that the judge made certain conclusions about her based on the allegations from her ex-spouse, had an angry tone, demonstrated a lack of impartiality and sensitivity to family law issues, and caused her to feel re-victimised in front of her abuser.

The complainant was advised that the purpose of a settlement conference is to explore the chances of settling a case and to hear the judge’s views on the possible court decision if the parties don’t reach an agreement. Issues that are in dispute, other than disclosure or procedural matters, are not usually decided at a settlement conference. The discussions at a settlement conference are considered private and “without prejudice”. A judge in a settlement conference is required to provide their opinion on the position of the parties and the issues that may be brought to trial, and parties are informed that this judge cannot be the judge at trial. With that, the Council determined that the complaint did not warrant further consideration by the Council. The matter was closed.

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