Australian human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson says Pope Benedict's resignation could expose him to lawsuits from victims of pedophile priests.

Robertson, writing in UK newspaper the Independent, argues the Pope's resignation is "merely expedient" as he'd become too old to cope in the job.

"It would have been both astonishing and courageous, a few years ago, had it been offered in atonement for the atrocity to which he had for 30 years turned a blind eye - the rape, buggery and molestation of tens of thousands of small boys in priestly care," writes the author of The Case of The Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse.