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"You're not in Year 3 anymore"

The Lord Chief Justice has said judges will receive training to ensure they don't behave inappropriately, following a review which revealed bullying, discrimination and harassment.

Lord Burnett of Maldon told the House of Commons justice select committee that some judges participating in a welfare survey, indicated that they had been subjected to inappropriate behaviour by their peers. And in further research - which included solicitors, barristers and judges - other examples of inappropriate behaviour in the judiciary also came up.

"Our plan is to weave into induction and continuation training for all judges the essentials of good behaviour and avoiding inappropriate behaviour, particularly inadvertent inappropriate behaviour," Lord Burnett said. He added that a statement would be issued outlining the behaviour expected of judges, and that leadership judges would be made to attend bespoke training, and expected to disseminate good practice.  

Lord Burnett said that he hoped the judiciary had fewer problems "than in many other organisations but it would be folly to pretend we do not have some problems. We are taking immediate steps to do what we can to mitigate those problems."

He also said in his recent annual report that although there were “many positive aspects of the existing culture that can be built on" in the judiciary, there were also "examples of behaviour that amounted to bullying, harassment or discrimination, as well as examples of behaviour that would not be classed as bullying but could nonetheless have had an adverse impact on those who experienced it”.

Lord Burnett was asked in the committee about a recent report by the University of Manchester and barrister Keir Monteith KC which concluded that the judiciary is "institutionally racist", as it found judicial discrimination to be directed particularly towards black court users - from lawyers to witnesses to defendants. Lord Burnett responded that they were taking that report "into account".

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