The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Informed and Informative



this:- (from an official website)

The Sunday Times on 11 June, and other newspapers today have published criticism of some individual judges based on references to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General, this is a copy of the full statement given to the Sunday Times, only part of which was used, and which provides some more context to this issue.

"The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice do not monitor appeals against individual judges, and it is not their role to intervene in judicial decisions or consider complaints about them (relating to appeals) because of the principle of judicial independence.

"Judges are accountable for their judicial decisions via the appeal system. A successful appeal to a higher court does not of itself provide a basis for criticism of a trial judge. Where the Court of Appeal does record criticism of the trial judge, the judgment is always sent to the Judge concerned, and where there is any reason for concern about the conduct of the judge it is sent to Presiding Judges. From time to time where judges are not performing adequately they may be given advice and guidance, or training, or different workloads or types of workload by the responsible senior judiciary.

"In cases where the Judge’s conduct is seriously impugned, the Presiding Judges will refer the matter to the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice to consider complaints about conduct.

"Figures on successful appeals against a judge's sentencing can only begin to have relevance if they are set against the total number of sentencing decisions made by the judge in question, and those where there has been no appeal, or an appeal has been rejected. It should also be borne in mind that some judges have caseloads involving more complex and serious cases, so they might be more likely to feature in appeal cases. In any event, there are many cases where the Court of Appeal reduces sentences without implying any criticism of the sentencing judge."

"All sentencing decisions in particular cases reflect the full range of evidence presented to the court in that case at that time, and a variety of other relevant factors which judges must have regard to including the statutory framework, Court of Appeal judgments, and any mitigating or aggravating factors."
"The Constitutional Reform Act 2005 introduced a regulatory framework for handling complaints about the personal conduct of judicial office holders. A new body, the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC) was established in April 2006 to support the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice in their responsibilities for judicial conduct and discipline. The new process followed by the OJC is outlined in full on their website http://www.judicialcomplaints.gov.uk/. The OJC do not look into judicial decisions - the appeals system performs that role. If a complaint is upheld, the Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor may decide to take disciplinary action; for example a reprimand or a requirement to undertake additional training. The ultimate sanction would be removal from judicial office, although for High Court Judges and above, judicial independence dictates that this would require a vote in both Houses of Parliament."

will tell much to those who wish to know how recent events have come to pass.