Getting an Incompetent Judge Sacked

Judges are in a tricky and unique position.  In a democracy, the Judiciary and the Government are to be kept strictly separate.  This is called 'separation of powers'.   The point is that a Judge must be ‘fiercely independent’, because, for one thing, she will have to hear cases where the State, in one guise or other, is a party to the proceedings.  This could be, for example, where an individual sues their local authority, the NHS, a Government Department, or perhaps a Quango.

So, Judges are independent.

Or are they?  Because, as well as being crowbar-separated from the Government, they are also employees of the Government.  Can you imagine being free to rule against your employer every day, on the one hand, and yet, on the other, being dependent on them for your wage?  This is surely a conflict of interests, something the law standardly rails against.  This issue comes up all the time in the TV show “Judge John Deed”, where our hero (played by Martin Shaw) has, pretty much every day, to fight off attempted coercion from the Government to make him rule how the Government wants him to rule.

Judges can be removed for serious misconduct, but we want to look here at incompetence.

If you are a useless lawyer, a negligent doctor, or a hopeless scaffolder, you are sacked, and may be sued as well.  This is true for every trade and every profession.  Except judges.  According to the Guardian, no judge of High Court level or above has been sacked “within living memory”.  Judges cannot be held accountable for their decisions.  And those that are sacked occasionally are sacked for bad behaviour, not incompetence.  If a judge makes a poor decision, for whatever reason, our only recourse is to appeal.   The problem with this, for most of use, is that it costs £thousands in court fees alone…

So, if your judge has been caught watching porn, or making inappropriate comments on social media, we can complain to the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) and we could get her sacked.  But if she ‘just’ ignores evidence or is guilty of perverse reasoning there’s not much we can do, apart from get our wallets out.

Should judges enjoy such a high level of protection?


 

1 thought on “Getting an Incompetent Judge Sacked

  1. Judge Goldsack at Sheffeld UK asked me to stand in the dock like a criminal when it was a civil hearing. Implying to my ex and his male Barrister and Solicitor I was in some way the guilty Party. I was alone with No solicitor. The judge’s opening comments to me being I think you are a bitter women. Taking in to account this judge had never met me or my children. I was shocked at these comments and said to him excuse me just because I do not have a solicitor present does not mean you can speak to me like that. It is supposed to be a civil court. He made an order there and then I should never have contact with my natural children ever again. As he got up to leave the court he said No Grounds for appeal. It had nothing at all to do with my children just the fact I stood up for myself in a court. Which I had every right to do and which I would do again. It took 3 years to get back in a court again. I had No Solicitor again. I had been the sole carer of my children my oldest for 15 years my younger two children for 6 years. Being a mom is the best thing I have ever done. I have always loved my children. I always will

     

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