"I'm as jober as a sudge"
An employment judge has been been given a formal warning by the tribunal president, after she was caught boozing during a hearing.
On 30 September 2021, employment judge Pauline Hughes was part of a three-member panel tribunal hearing a case.
The other panel members noticed a change in Hughes' behaviour during the day, and were concerned that she might be elevated with the juice of the grape.
At a break in the hearing, "evidence indicated" that the judge had "consumed alcohol in her chambers", according to a statement from the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office. As a result, the hearing had to be stopped that day.
Judge Hughes had a meeting with the tribunal president in August 2022, and said she had little recollection of the incident, but she did not dispute that she must have drunk alcohol on the day in question. She has has not sat since the incident.
A spokesperson for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said:
"The Senior President of Tribunals, on behalf of the Lord Chief Justice and with the Lord Chancellor’s agreement, has issued Employment Judge Pauline Hughes with a formal warning for misconduct".
In making the finding of misconduct, and recommending a formal warning, the tribunal president took into account that Judge Hughes, who has served the tribunal for many years, had not sought to deny drinking alcohol, had expressed remorse for her actions and gave assurances as to her future conduct, including in relation to alcohol use.
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That she has not sat since the incident makes you wonder where she hid the bottle.
Surely you judge better after a couple of swifters.
I have always suspected that many tribunal judges might be secret members of the inebriati!
Meanwhile in parliament MPs have a selection of subsidised bars and frequently sit in the house drunk.
I wonder why they don't vote against that.
No alcohol involved but seen more than one judge nod off after lunch during proceedings. Too bad for the parties. Think the Judge's associate will get them up to speed? They had photocopied novels to read in court. Those were the days.
In the days before smart phones, a pre-qual mate of mine was ushering for a Recorder. The Recorder told the parties at the beginning of the day that he needed to apologise in advance for having to keep his eye on developments on another matter. Every half hour or so my mate entered, bowed, approached the bench and handed up a note. Through these means, the judge was able to keep abreast of developments at Lord's.
This reminds me of that great wit of the Bar, F E Smith (later Lord Birkenhead):
Drinking on the job? Still employed? Makes a laughing stock of the Tribunal.