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Supreme Court judge seeks ‘sensible’ solution to colleagues’ workplace feud

Supreme Court Justice Andrew Beech has encouraged a resolution to the ongoing feud between Perth Children’s Court Magistrate Catherine Crawford and the court’s state president, Hylton Quail.

As a district court-appointed judge overseeing the children’s court, Mr Quail is being sued by Ms Crawford over an alleged push to move her back to the Perth Magistrates Court, citing a letter on December 8 and an email on January 21.

Children’s Court of WA President Hylton Quail has yet to file a defence against claims he pushed out magistrate Catherine Crawford.

Children’s Court of WA President Hylton Quail has yet to file a defence against claims he pushed out magistrate Catherine Crawford.Credit:Online

Ms Crawford has claimed under the Magistrates Act of 2004 that it was the role of the Chief Magistrate Steven Heath to order her alleged transfer to the adult court and Mr Quail “has no power” to transfer her to Perth’s central law courts.

Mr Quail has yet to file a defence, with his lawyer Eric Heenan telling the court that he was awaiting advice over a potential strikeout application from a senior counsel who was currently before the High Court of Australia.

And despite the statement of claim being filed before the court in late January, Judge Quail was still considering the next step.

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“I would certainly expect the parties are having sensible discussions about all aspects about how this matter moves forward,” Justice Beech said.

“The parties in this litigation know better than most about the processes of the court … and if such litigation is necessary.”

Justice Beech also alluded to any unwanted public attention the case could bring but “that should not be taken as any discouragement from within the bar”.

“In the management of every case that I have conduct over, I have regularly aspired to the benefit of parties to think about resolutions other than continuing on with the dispute,” he told both sides.

The matter is set to continue on May 7.

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