Number of complaints about judges falls
The number of complaints lodged against the judiciary has fallen after rising sharply in 2013.The annual report of the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office stated that 2,108 complaints were made in 2013/14.The previous year saw 2,154, a 33% increase on 2011/12.The data covers all judges, coroners, magistrates and tribunal members in England and Wales – around 40,000 people in total.The majority of 2013/14 complaints, around 59%, related to judicial decisions or case management and therefore could not be considered for any disciplinary action. A further 28% related to inappropriate behaviour or comments.The JCIO reported that 58 cases resulted in disciplinary action, of which 17 saw an officeholder removed, two resulted in a suspension, 14 led to a reprimand and 25 resulted in a warning or formal advice. A further 11 officeholders resigned during the course of disciplinary proceedings.The reasons for removal included not fulfilling judicial duties, inappropriate behaviour or comments, civil proceedings or criminal convictions and professional conduct.Judith Anckorn, head of the JCIO, said: ‘Fifty-eight cases resulted in disciplinary sanction. This reflects a very small proportion, less than 3% of the total number of complaints concluded in the year.’She explained that a significant number of complaints were about a judge’s decision or management of a case and were either dismissed or rejected as they contained no allegation of misconduct.Anckorn said the JCIO cannot comment upon or intervene in such matters and these cases fall to be dismissed.