Respect the law

February 8, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Addressing the Jewish Law Service marking the start of the NSW 2019 Law term, Justice Stephen Rothman stressed that it is incumbent on the members of the Jewish community to abide by the secular law of the land.

Justice Stephen Rothman

Justice Rothman is the president of The Great Synagogue at which the service was held. The service was attended by leading members of the legal profession.

He singled out that those holding office within the Jewish community “to abide by and to respect the law; to be seen to abide by and to respect the law; and not to undermine or to be seen to undermine the operation of the law”.

He added: “There is one particular aspect of Australian society that is fundamental to democracy. It is an aspect upon which all freedoms and duties depend, support for which is trite, and sometimes stated or applauded without explanation. That aspect is the rule of law: that every person, including government, is bound by the law and has the right to gain untrammelled access to the courts for the enforcement of the law, the rights in which they have an interest, or the protection of such rights, including the defence of claims that impinge on such interests or rights.

At the service

The rule of law is fundamental. Without it, no democracy can exist.”

He said the constitution creates a uniform legal system at the apex of which is the High Court of Australia and guaranteeing disputing parties the right to access the courts to resolve their disputes.

He pointed out that “the Jewish community has been, thank God, truly blessed in this country. Jews have, with few exceptions, been accepted and respected by all levels of our society. In turn, we have sought to play our role in ensuring the existence of a society that benefits all members of Australian society, each of whom must be entitled to enjoy equal justice before the law and under the law”.

Ron Hoenig, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman, David Knoll and Justice Stephen Rothman

He concluded by saying: “First and foremost, we cannot be seen to be suggesting that different civil laws apply to members of the Jewish community, or any other community than apply to the remainder of society, except to the extent that equal justice requires it.  Nor can we be seen to be condoning the notion that observant Jews ought not to have open and untrammelled access to civil justice.”

The spiritual leader of The Great Synagogue Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton, NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman and Chief Justice Tom Bathurst also spoke.

Photos: Giselle Haber


One Response to “Respect the law”
  1. John Ziegler says:

    “Jews have, with few exceptions, been accepted and respected by all levels of our society.” One of those exceptions of course is enrolment (for some Jewish children) at Moriah College where Justice Rothman, incidentally, as Life Patron, has a governing role.

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