Lord Chief Justice says judges are feeling stressed out at work

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Even judges aren’t immune from the stresses and strains of the working world


Feeling undervalued at work? You’re not alone.

A report from the Lord Chief Justice today revealed that even judges — no doubt one of the most esteemed professions in the country — get bogged down by their work.

Drawing on the first Judicial Attitude Survey, the Lord Chief Justice — Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd — revealed that there are “clear concerns” about morale amongst judges. He said:

Judges, in common with many other people, feel that the burdens of work imposed on them have increased.

An example given by the head of the judiciary is judges having to handle “an ever-increasing quantity of challenging and emotionally-charged cases”, particularly in family and criminal law matters.

The plight faced by judges when dealing with emotional cases is becoming more public. Mr Justice Dingemans famously broke down in tears last year at Bristol Crown Court when sentencing Nathan Matthews to at least 33 years in prison for the murder of his stepsister, Becky Watts.

Not long after, Thomas spoke out about harrowing sexual offence cases and the emotional toll that they can have on judges. He said:

Few people have any idea of the sheer depravity to which people can sink and a judge often has material in front of him which cannot but distress people.

And it’s not just the sensitive subject matter of cases that’s getting judges down — concerns about pay and feeling undervalued and underappreciated at work were also highlighted by the senior judge’s report.

Though Thomas notes that there is still a long way to go, steps have been taken to improve morale. He explained:

There was, for example, a programme of meetings with judiciary and staff at a number of court centres. Leadership judges are also being provided with more protected time and more support and assistance; progress is being made towards establishing local leadership groups, representative of judiciary and staff, to address and co-ordinate issues relating to governance within those centres or areas and to provide a strong element of local governance.


Not Amused

Well the best answer to any problem, no matter how serious, is clearly for everyone to immediately begin talking in gobbledygook about ‘leadership’ ‘stakeholders’ ‘governance’ or some other nonsense. If the problem persists then form a committee. If things get worse then Knight the committee chair.

Just like the best solution to the problem of a lack of women in senior judicial posts was to appoint John Thomas.


Jonny Sumpters

I’ve got a work mate, who will go unnamed except that his name is Lord Neuberger, who really lets stress get the better of him. He’s always huffing and puffing and slamming his desk when somebody drops another file on it. He should be like me and fidget incessantly. It’s great for keeping the weight off and some people find it endearing.


Quo Vadis

A judge blubbering in court shames us all. This in a country once famed for its ‘stiff upper lip’ – a reserve of integrity and manly courage to draw on in times of need. This has now been lost. Anyone who does not wear their emotions on their sleeve at all times suffers public suspicion and contempt. Men and women of all ages now seek validation in telling the world how sad they are, how depressed, how much they suffer in their comfortable Western lives. A learned judge sits through a murder trial, hears the harrowing evidence, and cannot maintain his composure long enough to deliver a reasoned and rational sentence – instead, he collapses into tears like a schoolgirl. This country will soon face threats more severe than a murdering lunatic. Will we, the failing sons of long-dead fathers, have the courage to meet them?



‘like a schoolgirl’ – that comment alone makes me ignore anything else you said


Quo Vadis

No offence intended. I can confirm that schoolboys blub too. Usually when contemplating a career in law.



What did your father die of, embarrassment?


A. Barrister

I wish the ones who sit there, shout and pontificate knew what stress was like.

They might be a little more courteous to myself and my colleagues then.


Lord Thistletwatt

When I was at school sad poofy weedy kids who blubbed got no mercy.

Now they’re making the bench!

Don’t know what the country’s coming to! Baa!


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