Judge loses bid for worker status

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Dec 22, 2017
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Judges have unique protections already, the Court of Appeal ruled

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District Judge Claire Gilham lost her Court of Appeal battle to establish the same rights for judges as “workers” yesterday.

A test case by the whistleblowing judge, who claims members of the bench face death threats, violent claimants, hostage taking and heavy workloads, was first thrown out by the Employment Tribunal in 2015. And the following year the Employment Appeal Tribunal also dismissed her claim against the Ministry of Justice.

Now three judges in the Court of Appeal in London have unanimously dismissed Gilham’s latest appeal. Lord Justice Underhill, sitting with Lady Justice Gloster and Lord Justice Singh, found that “judges are in fact in a unique position and have many protections, for fundamental constitutional reasons, which no one else does. For example they have security of tenure until the statutory retirement age. This means that, unlike most workers, they cannot be made redundant.

“The grounds on which district judges can be removed from office are very limited, in particular misconduct, and removal requires the concurrence of the lord chief justice.”

Gilham, who dealt with family cases at Warrington county court in Cheshire, had claimed that denying judges worker status removed their entitlement to the standard legal protections granted to whistleblowers to make disclosures in the public interest.

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