The West

Strained resources at the Supreme Court will be given a short-lived boost when the outgoing president of the State Administrative Tribunal returns to the bench next month.

Attorney-General Michael Mischin has appointed District Court Judge Jeremy Curthoys the new president of the tribunal, which presides over a broad range of cases in areas including human rights, vocation, development and resources.

Judge Curthoys' appointment will allow Justice John Chaney, who has headed the tribunal for five years, to return to the Supreme Court. Mr Mischin is in the process of appointing a replacement judge for the District Court.

Chief Justice Wayne Martin said the changes would restore judicial numbers to the position before the retirement of Justice Narelle Johnson in 2012.

But Justice Martin said the capacity of the court to list cases had been compromised after the State Government decision not to fill the vacancy and Justice Christopher Pullin would retire from the bench in April.

District Court Judge Kevin Sleight will also return to the Supreme Court as a commissioner for six months from next week to alleviate the workload amid a spike in homicide cases.

Mr Mischin said Judge Curthoys, a lawyer for 25 years before his appointment to the bench, was a highly capable judge and renowned for his extensive contribution to continuing education in the legal profession.

Mr Mischin paid tribute to Justice Chaney's work in the tribunal, which he said had helped make it one of the most efficient and effective jurisdictions of its type in Australia.

Judge Curthoys will begin his two-year appointment on February 10.

The West Australian

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