Judges face hundreds of complaints over ‘inappropriate remarks’

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Sep 15, 2017
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Nineteen judges were removed from their posts last year

Richard Mills/The Times

More than 400 complaints about judges or magistrates making allegedly inappropriate remarks were received last year, new figures show.

However, nearly all complaints were rejected or dismissed, according to the annual report of the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office. 

A total of 2,126 complaints and inquiries were made, but 1,257 were not accepted for investigation because they were outside the scope of the office or out of time. Only 42 resulted in disciplinary action, which amounted to less than 0.2 per cent of the total of 26,000 judicial office holders.

The office does not investigate complaints about the outcome of a case on grounds of judicial independence.

Disciplinary action included formal advice, which was given in 11 of the 42 cases, a warning (4), a reprimand (8) and removal (19). Reasons for removal included criminal conviction, bankruptcy, failure to disclose information concerning suitability to hold office and failure to fulfil sitting requirements.

Most complaints related to the district bench, reflecting its size and the kind of disputes handled, from family to civil matters. The district bench attracted 944 complaints; the circuit bench, including recorders (part-time judges) 590 complaints; the High Court 122 complaints and Court of Appeal 63 complaints.

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