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Speculation swirls about potential replacement, if Chief Justice Tim Carmody resigns -

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ELEANOR HALL: To Queensland, where the Government faces a difficult task of choosing a new Chief Justice if Tim Carmody does in fact resign.

The bitterness within the judicial community over Mr Carmody's appointment has raised concerns that any new candidate could be tainted.

But a former Queensland Supreme Court judge argues the public feud hasn't damaged the reputations of the judges who've fallen out with the Chief Justice, and that there are plenty of viable candidates to take the top job.

In Brisbane, Stephanie Smail reports.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: The Queensland Chief Justice Tim Carmody hasn't spoken publicly since making a media splash with his offer to resign.

But the Chief Justice has vowed to speak up again at a legal conference on Hamilton Island on Friday.

That's when he's expected to outline the reform agenda he thinks is needed as he prepares to resign.

Speculation has already begun about who could take Tim Carmody's place.

The former Queensland Supreme Court Justice George Fryberg argues there are plenty of viable candidates.

He says he doubts the public feud will hurt their chances.

GEORGE FRYBERG: I'm sure there hasn't been any ganging up.

If you look at the people who are the judges, they're all individuals.

Trying to get them to do anything collectively is like herding cats.

You can't organise a group of them for a social function, let alone for something like this.

The idea of a cabal is ridiculous.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Is it the case that the judges embroiled in this public feud are tainted now?

If the Chief Justice does indeed stand down, are any of them viable candidates to take his place?

GEORGE FRYBERG: I certainly don't think they are tainted, and yes, there are a few who are, I think are viable candidates.

Age is obviously a factor and somebody who's 66 or 67 I would not expect would be considered.

But yes, there are a number of viable candidates among them, just as there are outside the judiciary.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Would an outside appointment be a better option considering what has happened?

GEORGE FRYBERG: Not necessarily. I think you should go for the best person.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: As well as his call for reform and "just terms", the Chief Justice has suggested other judges should be considering their position.

George Fryberg has rejected that assertion.

GEORGE FRYBERG: I don't think any other judge has done anything that would merit this.

It's his decision to resign that we're talking about here, no-one's suggesting that he's done anything improper which would warrant the Parliament sacking him.

His decision to resign is I think a courageous one, a correct one and an unselfish one.

I would praise him for it.

But it's a decision that's been brought about simply because, with the greatest respect for Tim, he's really not up to the job.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: The Queensland Government has welcomed Tim Carmody's offer to quit.

The Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has urged him to meet with the state's Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath to begin the process, but that's yet to happen.

Ms D'Ath says reform is already being considered and she's willing to discuss it with the Chief Justice.

High profile QC Tony Morris is one of only a handful of practising barristers to speak publicly on the issue.

He has described the Chief Justice's conditional resignation offer as "unprecedented" and "undesirable".

TONY MORRIS: The problem with Carmody is his saying, yes, I want just terms for myself, but I'm also making my retirement conditional upon the Government agreeing to my terms about restructuring the way judges are appointed.

Anyone who's got any sense of the separation of powers knows that that's a matter for government.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: He has also reflected on the behaviour of other judges since Tim Carmody's appointment.

TONY MORRIS: The sad part is a lot of these people are my friends, they're also people for whom I have the very deepest respect.

I think a few of the things that Margaret McMurdo has said publicly were inappropriate, but that doesn't detract from the fact that she is an exceptionally good judge and a great asset to the court.

I'd say the same about Justice John Byrne. I can't imagine any circumstance which would justify one judge tape recording another without his knowledge.

STEPHANIE SMAIL: Chief Justice Carmody says he'll use his speech on Friday to present a clear vision for change and a pathway to a transparent and trustworthy 21st century court system.

ELEANOR HALL: Stephanie Smail in Brisbane.