Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Posts Tagged ‘judicial college

Equal treatment: Guidance from the Judicial College

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It should go without saying that, particularly in the legal arena, those who take part in proceedings before courts and tribunals need to feel that they have been treated equally.

This is, of course, easier said than done, as David Lammy’s report on the Criminal Justice System, published in 2017 showed. (See this blog 29 Sept 2017). But for many years first the Judicial Studies Board and now the Judicial College have offered guidance to judges (and by extension to others involved in the justice system) about the best ways to try to ensure that people are treated fairly.

Much of this focusses on the language that judges and others involved in the justice system use generally (for example in relation to litigants in person) and in relation to those from specific sectors of society, who may be defined by their religion, their ethnicity, their sexual orientation, mental or physical disabilities, their gender.

In February 2018, the Judicial College published an on-line updated revision to its ‘Equal Treatment Bench Book’. Bench books were originally devised as a handy guide to key issues which could sit on the judge’s desk, available for him to refer to it that seemed necessary.

I am not sure whether this particular Bench Book can be used in this way. For one thing, it is very long – well over 400 pages. And the issues raised are such that I would have thought judges would need to have considered them before a case or other proceedings have started. (It would not be desirable for a judge to stop in the middle of a sentence in order to look up how a particular person should be addressed.)

But I don’t agree, as some comments in the press have suggested, that the Equal Treatment Bench Book is an example of political correctness gone mad. It seems to me to be an honourable attempt to raise questions and address issues that arise in practice but that many judges may not have thought about before. (Indeed, I think there are some parts of the book that would be of interest to a wider readership.)

I set out the link to the text here, and invite readers to take a look at the Book and come to their own view on its value.

See https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/equal-treatment-bench-book-february-v6-2018.pdf

 

 

 

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Written by lwtmp

April 4, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Training the Judges – developing the work of the Judicial College

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In December 2012 I published  a podcast with Lady Justice Hallett on the work of the Judicial College in training the judiciary. Her role was taken over by Lady Justice Rafferty in August 2014.

The work of the College has continued to develop although with reduced resources.

It still provides core induction training for all new judges – different courses depending on the type of judge concerned – criminal, civil, administrative.

But its most notable innovation has been the creation of an extensive prospectus of courses to which sitting judges may sign up. (They have to undertake a minimum amount of compulsory professional development wach year). The scope of the programme is considerable and includes a number of academic seminars bringing together judges and legal scholars. The bulk of the programme focusses on practical matters arising in different subject areas.

Information about the work of the Judicial College can be found at https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/about-the-judiciary/training-support/judicial-college/
The current prospectus (valid until March 2015) can be accessed by clicking on the link on that page.

The Equal Treatment Bench Book, published by the College is also available on-line. See https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/publications/equal-treatment-bench-book/

Written by lwtmp

October 22, 2015 at 10:00 am