Story-telling that puts a human face on the judiciary

Judge Robert Murfitt — Family Court Judge

Image of Judge Murfitt with his children's book Claire and the Weka.It is well recognised that the practice of family law, including judging, is a “front line” profession.

It has all the risks of vicarious trauma, burnout and post-traumatic stress disorder experienced in other front-line careers such as the Fire Service, Police and emergency medicine.

So, for me, writing children’s stories is a diversionary activity with the most innocent segment of the community, young children.

Spurred on by a granddaughter who soaked up imaginary stories, I have started committing these into book form. Children love simple stories with a bit of tension.

The first story Image of children reading Claire and the Weka.book I have had published, Claire and the Weka, concerns a little girl in trouble when a weka steals her favourite teddy bear.

My granddaughter, Eva, reprimanded me after another bedtime story aimed at being very calm and sedating. She said: “But Robbie, there was no problem!” — a problem being a six year old’s way of describing dramatic tension.

After two years, 1200 copies of the book have been distributed into shops, and it is now into a third reprint. I am working on a sequel and have other story ideas in the pipeline.

Some judges do other things in their spare time to relieve the stress of our work. We can count poets, authors, film producers and even a disc jockey within our ranks.

Through my writing, I have really enjoyed the experience of meeting retailers, and giving book readings at schools, libraries and even in stores. I like to think it puts a human face on the judiciary.

"Some judges do other things in their spare time to relieve the stress of our work.  We can count poets, authors, film producers and even a disc jockey within out ranks"