Behind Closed Doors – Judicial Shenanigans

The Guardian has lost in it’s attempt to secure details of the identities of Judges found guilty of misconduct or who have been reprimanded. I think maybe I’m missing something because my response to this was a bemused ‘hunh?’.

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The Information Tribunal making the decision apparently cited the example of a very senior judge who was reprimanded by the LCJ and said that if barristers had known about the behaviour which had led to the reprimand, they would have used the information to try and get an adjournment of the hearings or ‘in some cases an application that the judge in question not hear the particular case’. No doubt they would. The Tribunal goes on to say that ‘this clearly has adverse implications for the public and for the administration of justice generally’. Riiiigggghhhht.

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No, I’m not getting it. As far as I can see it all rather begs the question ‘Why the hell shouldn’t counsel be able to ask a judge to recuse himself if he has engaged in relevant misconduct?’, and I rather think that the decision to keep such matters secret when they plainly hold a legitimate public interest is far more likely to have adverse implications for the public and for the administration of justice than the suppression of such information simply in order to avoid administrative inconvenience or embarrassment. The new fashion for transparency and the principle of open justice clearly only goes so far.

Or am I getting this wrong?

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