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    « Lawyering Jonestown | Main | More unmenschionable happenings »

    The Mensch

    Marcus Einfeld is handling his troubles with the same panache he has managed all the annoying and inconsequential accusations thrown at him over the years ... If he has a tiny tendency to being a bit pleased with himself, you've got to remember he is a national living treasure ... From Justinian's archive, August 2006 

    Dr Einfeld: National Living Treasure

    SOME people are so dazzled by the magnificence of "Justice" Marcus Einfeld that there is no limit to the distinctions and baubles foisted on him.

    I see that next month he is speaking at the Japan Australia Forum. The former Federal Court judge is modestly billed as "The Honourable Justice Marcus Einfeld - national living treasure".

    The blurb goes on:

    "Dr Einfeld is recognised both nationally and internationally as one of Australia's foremost advocates for human rights. He was Justice of the Federal Court of Australia for 15 years until his retirement in April 2001, and remains Justice of the Supreme Courts of New South Wales, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. He is also Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and other overseas courts."

    Surely there's some mistake.

    His career as an "additional" judge of the ACT Supreme Court expired in 2001, when he left the Federal Court. God knows how long ago he was a judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, but he's certainly not one now.

    The Supreme Court of NSW says he has never been one of its judges or acting judges and as for the Supreme Court of Western Australia he was an acting judge for a month or two while Justice Owen was conducting the HIH Royal Commission.

    On the Saxton Speakers Bureau web site he’s billed as "Hon. Justice Einfeld" although he sits on no court.

    In 2004 he addressed a conference conducted by the Innovative Collaborations Alliances and Networks where, again, the billing was a tiny bit generous:

    "Marcus Einfeld was a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia until April 2001 when he retired after almost 15 years service. He remains a Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, the Supreme Courts of Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and the Eastern Caribbean." 

    Apart from describing himself as "Justice" he’s also fond of the moniker "Dr".

    Actually, he has no less than two doctorates: a PhD from the privately owned Pacific Western University based in San Diego and a Doctorate of Laws from Century University, which is located at Suite 220, 2201 San Pedro NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Century's logo is an owl wearing a mortarboard. 

    Both institutions are famous for their distance education programs. As Pac Western says:

    "Because PWU recognizes the inherent value of prior education, training & work experience, knowledge accrued through past experience may be credited towards your distance learning degree." 

    At Century, the claim is that to get a degree you can, "work at your own pace" and there's no need "to quit present job".

    But, these are petty quibbles about a great man.

    His lustre and splendour has seen him through many close shaves. For instance, there was the dreadful misunderstanding about him appearing in the High Court without a NSW Bar Association ticket, a drama Justinian reported in loving detail last year - see Diary of a complaint

    The insistence by head barman Philip Selth that The Mensch should have had a ticket when he appeared in Subramaniam v The Queen was met with a powerful rebuttal:

    "I have your letter of today and am greatly upset and saddened by its contents. As I am again about to leave for overseas to assist oppressed and suffering peoples, and being without secretarial support have to type this letter myself in some haste." 

    Then there was the accusation of plagiarism against him made by Professor John Carter at the University of Sydney law school. Prof Carter claimed that in a judgment delivered just before he left the Federal Court in 2001 The Mensch lifted his work in Halsbury’s Laws of Australia without attribution.

    The judgment was subsequently amended in 2003. The Financial Reviewin March this year quoted the prof as saying:

    "We fail our students and discipline them if they do this." 

    The Mensch explained that it was just a printing error because footnotes included in his original judgment had been unwittingly excised by a foolish printer. Problem solved.

    The confusion about whether the person driving his car through Mosman in January 2006, 10 kilometres an hour over the limit is dead or alive likewise will soon be sorted out.

    Teresa Brennan, Therese or Terese Brennan, Father Frank Brennan, Niall Brennan, Gerry Brennan, Laurie Brereton, Justice Brereton. Someone like that.

    The amusing jape he made at Brisbane airport about a luggage bomb was also cleared-up. The story on June 9, 2004 came from Daily Smellograph police reporter Charles Miranda:

    "Former Federal Court judge Marcus Einfeld has been reported to federal police after creating a security scare at Brisbane airport.

    Mr Einfeld, AO, QC, was checking-in for a flight to the Solomon Islands with other judges for a nine-days judicial mission, when he allegedly made a quip about the contents of his party's luggage ..." 

    He made a sensitive foray into the Jeff Shaw case in 1994, saying he did not believe the judge was an alcoholic in the sense of "rolling around the streets drunk [or] drinking all day long".

    Rather he thought that Shaw did not hold his alcohol as well as some people.

    Terrific stuff for Rupert's reptiles who were hounding Shaw with a variety of slings and arrows.

    The Mensch is a reporter's dream. Who knows what will issue forth when he opens his magnificent trap. 


    Readers' comments

    Posted by: Anonymous 
    Date: August 20, 2006, 11:25 am

    And when he was bringing "lustre" to the Federal Court, his truly bizarre judgments on sexual harassment led 20 senior academics to write a letter to the chief justice and attorney-general calling for his removal ...

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