Lord Chief Justice says judges are feeling stressed out at work

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By Katie King on

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.