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Judges’ recruitment difficulties need ‘urgent’ attention, says Lord Chief Justice

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And low morale isn’t helping

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Lord Thomas, the country’s top judge, has used his annual report to parliament to highlight serious concerns over recruitment into the United Kingdom’s judiciary.

Citing in particular two recent rounds of recruitment for High Court judges failing to fill all the vacancies, Lord Thomas argued that, alongside the court system’s recently announced Ā£700 million modernisation programme, “the judiciary itself demands attention”.

He reiterated that the impact of this recruitment problem on “the administration of justice and the position of the UK in international business litigation is potentially so serious” and stated that: “the matter is now extremely urgent.”

The Lord Chief Justice’s report did not pinpoint exactly what has caused the recruitment crisis but made links with low morale within the judiciary in the face of increased workloads (he specifically mentioned increases in areas such as asylum and immigration, family and the criminal division of the Court of Appeal).

He also cited judges’ pay “restraint”. A proposal to increase pay by 3% was refused earlier this year.

The top judge argued the Ministry of Justice’s modernisation programme, launched in September, should be an opportunity to provide judges with proper IT equipment and more modern buildings. He also suggested that there could be “specially trained staff (under judicial supervision) to undertake more routine work” which would ease some of the workload.

One issue which came up in his 2015 annual report was a proposal to try and have more “cross-deployment” of judges so that they can work in different courts and tribunals. This, it is argued, can alleviate spikes in cases as well as provide opportunities for career progression.

All in all, Lord Thomas said he would like to see “better support for judges … who have to deal with increasingly complex, difficult and, in some instances, unpleasant cases.” This is something he has touched on before in respect of the potential distress caused by hearing cases involving sexual violence.

The full report can be read below:

14 Comments

Anonymous

I left law because I found being a solicitor quite boring, but I would love to be a judge.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

if u found being a solicitor boring, you were in the wrong area of law.

what possibly qualifies someone with the arrogance to label a profession as boring to consider time on the bench?

(0)(6)

Anonymous

And yet you still come here…

Pining…?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

In the Midlands, there are a couple of District Judges that are legally unqualified, but rather have academic backgrounds. I wander if this avenue should be further explored, certainly in relation to Deputy/District Judges.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

What happens in the Midlands, stays in the Midlands.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

I think academics transitioning to the bench is the only way forward.
Barristers don’t want to be judges because of the substantially inferior pay.
By contrast, Law Professors are paid between 57k and 75k. They will be more than happy to become judges.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

this comment highlights the serious issue tho. there is massive under-recruitment from the solicitor side of the profession. in many areas, and in the lower courts, this would make complete sense.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

Yeah don’t wander too far mate

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Pathetic bunch of over paid buffoons.

The fact that they have to work a proper 9-4.30 day is causing these cosseted folk some grief.

Tough mate, get real. Pathetic squealing from the noses in the trough…

(3)(6)

Anonymous

I would LOVE to be a judge !!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Jobcentre worker: So what sort of jobs are you interested in?

Jobseeker: I wanna be a judge, innit?

Jobcentre worker: Do you have any qualifications?

Jobseeker: I iz, like, well diverse, innit?

Jobcentre worker: Congratulations, you got the job.

Jobseeker: Jus’ one ting- does the fac’ that I went to Eton count agains’ me?

Jobcentre worker: Ah, yes. That may be a problem…

Jobseeker: Dass discrimination!!!!! F-dis, I’m goin’ back to floggin’ coke!

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Actually, having recently been on JSA…

JW: What kind of qualifications do you have and what sort of work are you looking for?

Me: I have a law degree and I’d like to find work as a legal admin or paralegal.

JW: …How would you like to work as a care assistant in a nursing home 60 miles away?

(5)(0)

Jobseeker

šŸŽ¼Me gonna tell da nation about ma discriminationšŸŽ¤

(0)(0)

Klaus the Gnome

Being a judge isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Your arse gets numb sitting on that bloody swan for hours on end!

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.