Judges’ private chambers could make way for “judicial hubs”
Traditional private chambers could be replaced by new judicial chill out lounges that would see judges work and relax in a communal “hub” according to a report published by a law reform group earlier today.
The facilities — which would replace judges’ personal offices and toilets — are part of a number of proposals put forward by law reform and human rights organisation Justice, in a report entitled “What is a Court?”
The “high-quality” lounges would have separate work and social areas, and — perhaps most controversially — shared toilet facilities. ‘First Sky TV and now this’ you can hear them yell.
Judges would be expected to use soundproof “self-contained booths” to undertake research, draft rulings, reach decisions and conduct telephone hearings. The lengthy report suggests that the judicial pods would not be pre-assigned and therefore judges’ would be required to hot-desk.
The chill out lounges — which would support a collegiate and supportive atmosphere amongst the judiciary according to Justice — would also feature a library, computer facilities and a refreshments area. So a far cry from barristers’ robing rooms.
With the aim of lessening the sense of “isolation” felt by some judges, the report does accept that a number of judges will still require their own private office. These will include designated family and civil judges, who may still need to their own space for “administrative purposes”.
The report comes just months after the Ministry of Justice revealed that 86 courts across England and Wales would close. In an attempt to cut costs and overhaul the way in which court space is utilised it would appear not even judges are exempt.