THE MINISTRY of Justice is sticking to its guns over the legal standing of retired district court judge Paul Barber and his right to chair three Government-appointed judicial bodies.
The 78-year-old is already facing allegations he obtained the top job with the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal “by deceit” because he was not a barrister or solicitor at the time of his appointment – a requirement under legislation governing the Tribunal.
He’s also been accused of masquerading as a district court judge when he is not one.
Now there are questions over Barber and his chairmanship of the Taxation Review Authority.
Like the Tribunal, the chair of the Authority must either be a judge or a barrister or solicitor with at least seven years experience.
Since Barber’s warrant expired in March 2012, he has ruled on nearly two-dozen cases before the Taxation Review Authority involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. His last case was only last month and like every other decision on record since 2012, Barber is referred to as ‘Judge P F Barber’.
Ministry spokesman Matt Torbit said Barber was admitted to the Bar following his graduation in 1963. He was enrolled as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court and had more than seven years’ legal experience, he said.
It was not a requirement of the Taxation Review Authorities Act 1994 for a judicial office of the Authority to hold a practising certificate.
However, Auckland University law professor Bill Hodge said his understanding of the law was that the reference to “a barrister and solicitor of 7 years standing” meant current standing.
A barrister was defined under section six of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 as a person “enrolled as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court… and practicing as a barrister,” he said. Read more »