Welcome to another week.
The Bar Council has condemned judges who bully barristers during court proceedings and published guidance on how to deal with the matter. The guidelines, which offer barristers protection from judicial bullying, comes after lawyers complained that they were being intimidated, belittled and abused by judges during hearings.
No directions or support have been offered to families going through child welfare proceedings who have also experienced bullying by judges. If this has happened to you, Researching Reform would like to hear from you as we launch our campaign to demand that the justice system offer guidelines for families as well.
The guidance follows a recent judgment in which the Court of Appeal found that a judge had bullied a mother going through family law proceedings into agreeing to care orders for her two children. The Court of Appeal overturned the care orders issued by Her Honour Judge Carr QC, however Carr remains free to oversee cases and has not been held to account for the misconduct.
The Court of Appeal also found that the judge spoke sarcastically to the mother, threatened her, and made fun of the mother’s barrister.
The guidance from the Bar Council offers a list of behaviours which amount to judicial bullying and which should not be tolerated. The behaviours include sarcastic comments, threats and comments designed to embarrass and humiliate, all of which the mother experienced during her case.
The Guidance says:
“While all incidents must be judged in context, bullying involves behaviour such as –
• personal abuse,
• unreasonable demands,
• relentless criticism,
• intemperate language,
• demeaning behaviour,
• comments designed to embarrass or humiliate.”
If you are a parent, guardian or family member who has experienced bullying, please leave a message below, and we will publish your experiences anonymously. Please also consider taking our Twitter survey if you use the social media platform. Thank you.