Thursday, 6 June 2013

Judges - Shhhhh!

I spotted a recent case from Canada recently in which the Ontario Court of Appeal gave a lower court judge a sever reprimand for interfering during a trial. Apparently, this meddlesome judge made 'improper and umwarranted interjections' that actually led to a miscarriage of justice.

Now I can't claim to have ever been involved in a case in which judge interference has led to such a result but I've certainly had my fair share of busybody magistrates and judges who actually don't have a clue about their actual role. They see themselves as inquisitors, diving right into the arena, regardless of what the advocates in the well of the court are trying to achieve.

Almost always, it's frustrating at least and disastrous at worse.


Of course, part of a judge's role is to inquire into the case and ask questions when necessary - and there are times when the advocate(s) are under par. But it's a fine balancing act that many can't get to grips with at all. As former lawyers themselves they just can't help but become embroiled in the cut and thrust of proceedings.

So a word to anyone who sits as a judge of any kind - rise above it all. Don't enter the arena and when you have competent advocates in your court let them do their job. You'll find it easier to do yours.

1 comment:

  1. As a language/linguistics expert witness I occasionally find that judges consider themselves experts in language. Sometimes they aren't ...

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