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QLD Chief Justice Tim Carmody offers to end troubled tenure -

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MARK COLVIN: Queensland's Chief Justice Tim Carmody has offered to end his controversial tenure in the top job.

It's the latest dramatic development in the bitter feud between the Chief Justice and his fellow judges.

Tim Carmody has indicated that he will tender his resignation on condition that a judicial commission is created and if he's offered some form of compensation for walking away.

The Queensland Government has welcomed the move, but the Attorney-General says it's not up to the Chief Justice to make policy calls whether he's resigning or not.

Stephanie Smail reports.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Tensions have been simmering in Queensland judiciary since Tim Carmody was appointed Chief Justice by the former Liberal National party government.

The battle lines were drawn early when every Supreme Court judge boycotted his swearing in. Things haven't improved since.

TIM CARMODY: The judges have made it clear that they have no confidence in me, unlikely ever to have it and you know the low point I guess was the discovery that a senior judge in the trial division had secretly recorded a private conversation and um… parts of it had been published in the newspapers.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: That's Tim Carmody speaking to the Australian Newspaper.

It's not just his colleagues in the Supreme Court. The head of Queensland's Court of Appeal Justice Margaret McMurdo is another judge who has clashed with the Chief Justice, refusing to work with him.

Today she has spoken publicly about the fallout for the first time, describing the stoush as "unseemly".

Justice McMurdo has defended her behaviour towards Chief Justice Carmody.

MARGARET MCMURDO: All decisions I've made have been principled and based on the correct thing to do as I've perceived it, and I stand by them.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: In a statement Chief Justice Carmody says he has offered to resign to help refocus the conversation on real issues.

He says serious cultural and structural problems are at play in the judiciary and argues they were in place long before his appointment.

But Chief Justice Carmody says he will only leave the top job on "just terms" and if he is confident action will be taken towards the improvements Queenslanders need and expect.

Terry O'Gorman from the Australian Council for Civil Liberties argues any caveat is unacceptable.

TERRY O'GORMAN: It is simply not on for the Chief Justice to say I'm going to leave but these are my conditions and these conditions have to be met.

He said two months ago that if his staying on to use his words "damaged the brand" or damage the image of the Supreme Court he would resign.

That's what he said he was going to do, he should do so and it's just a bad look for him to say 'but I'll do it on my conditions'.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Queensland's Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath has welcomed the Chief Justice's offer to quit. She says it's time to end the bitter public feud that has undermined public faith in the state's judiciary.

Ms D'Ath says she is already considering establishing a judicial commission, but she's not making any promises to seal the deal.

YVETTE D'ATH: I am more than happy to hear his views on that as I am with any judge or any magistrate who has views about ways we can improve our justice system.

But we do need to be clear with separation of powers. It's for the legislators to make the laws, for the executives to implement them and it's for the judiciary to interpret those laws.

So when it comes to making policy decisions around court structures that's the decision of the government.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: In his statement Chief Justice Carmody says those resistant to change and modernisation have made it their primary goal to force him out, seemingly at all costs.

Terry O'Gorman says Tim Carmody should point out who in the judiciary is resisting change.

TERRY O'GORMAN: You see the way the Chief Justice is talking today, he's sounding like a politician. He's sounding like someone who says ‘I run the show’.

The Chief Justice does not run the other judges. He is a first among equals and any good Chief Justice runs his ship by consensus, not by dictates.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Although the Queensland Government has welcomed an opportunity to end the judicial dispute, legal experts are worried Tim Carmody's resignation could set a precedent.

Mark Lauchs is a law Professor at the Queensland University of Technology.

He argues, if Chief Justice Carmody does resign, those judges who are against him will have successfully run him out. He says it's not up to them to decide who's in the top job.

Professor Lauchs says involving an independent mediator would be the best way forward.

MARK LAUCHS: I don't think that any precedent that undermines the independent appointment of judges is going to be good, any more than if politicians were to got involved in this dispute to take away the independence of the judiciary by trying to force either the other judges to back down or the Chief Justice to resign.

So the best way would be to get an independent person from outside the state to come in and mediate the situation and try and resolve it to get it all moving properly under the current circumstances.

MARK COLVIN: Law Professor Mark Lauchs ending Stephanie Smail's report.