Whistle-blowing rights for Judges
Whistle-blowing rights for Judges
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Latest: Oct. 16, 2019
Lady Hale does it again!In a unanimous five judge decision the Supreme Court through Lady Hale today delivered the verdict that Judge Gilham had been denied her human rights and tha…Read more
Judge Claire Gilham, is a District Judge from the North West -hearing civil and family law for some of the more deprived areas in the region. She's fighting for the right to speak out.
In June 2019 the Supreme Court will rule on a point of law in a case that will affect whether judges are able to ‘whistleblow’.
At stake is whether judges can, without fear of the consequences, raise issues of concern about the way justice is being administered – or whether they are bound to silence. Do they have, in the public interest, the legal protections that others in public life have: a question particularly important when even those with such clear rights are so often afraid to speak out.
If you support the idea that judges should be able to speak out without fear of consequences about the way justice is being administered pleased contribute now and share this page with your friends, family and colleagues.
The case before the court is the culmination of a long personal battle to combat a lack of transparency surrounding her complaints over the running of the court where she was a sitting judge.
On a court closure a lack of agreed standards for service delivery and hierarchical but data-poor judicial administration led to bullying , overload, and highly unsafe working conditions. Reporting of mistakes was sanctioned while shortcuts were mandated that affected the administration of justice .
The crux of this case is that judges are not classed as workers, and so are currently deemed to have no rights in the very law that they are charged with administering.
In pursuing the complaint first internally and then through the courts, Claire was put through a forced retirement on ‘ill-health’ grounds which has been challenged. It was put to her that she would be required to the sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement – a course which she maintains would have involved a breach of her judicial oath. She now faces professional, financial and personal ruin for fighting a battle that she believes is her ethical duty. Claire says:
"In spite of this, I remain resolved to continue my fight so that no judge will face sanction for trying to correct mistakes in the system that maintains our ‘rule of law’."
This case resonates with so many similar cases in the public domain concerning the level of transparency that the public should expect from those in positions of power. "The oath I took encourages transparency for the public good"
Yet those administering the system have rigged it such that no one – and especially not the public – is allowed to hear about where and how justice isn't working.
This is not only wrong, it is profoundly counterproductive. We expect health systems to make and keep records and organise themselves so that mistakes can be detected and corrected. Where internal attempts at correction fail we expect to be able to hear about those matters so we can make decisions about the adequacy of the system to safeguard our health.
Where the process surrounding the administration of justice is in any way flawed, we owe judges the same respect that we should show doctors in their efforts to avoid any potential shortcomings with their service.
Judges must have the right – no the obligation – to blow the whistle on poor and unsafe practice.
The charity Protect has endorsed this action, but funds are now needed to continue the fight, please help us raise initially £10,000 and then as much as we can for what have already been and will inevitably be more significant legal costs.
This fundraising is to help pay for my Supreme Court Fees and the costs of lodging the initial documentation with the Supreme Court. We have been granted leave to appeal with a hearing listed for June 2019. These funds will allow us to take this case to the Supreme Court – and win .
Oct. 16, 2019
Lady Hale does it again!In a unanimous five judge decision the Supreme Court through Lady Hale today delivered the verdict that Judge Gilham had been denied her human rights and that Judges may whistle-blow in the public interest.Seven years of litigation but the door is finally open . Costs do not follow this decision however , so please if you think this constitutionally important principle is of value support the campaign and urge others to do so.
Oct. 15, 2019
Supreme Court Decision tomorrow 16th October
9:45 tomorrow we will find out if UK law protects Judges who whistle-blow about conditions in the Justice system - or if we have to go on and take our case to Strasbourg .Will the Supreme Court decide that internal Departmental systems are good enough, or that Judges need the same rights as most other workers? Do international - European and UN -human rights standards to protect free speech or the independence of the judiciary apply or is UK law incompatible with them ? Tomorrow we find out. Please watch this space and share with people you think that might care whether all judges can safely complain about the delivery of our justice .
May 24, 2019
Our hearing in the Supreme Court is only a couple of weeks away, and Bundles are lodged . News is finally picking up on this story of the impact of cuts on legal services in the UK with Lord Neuberger speaking out. Our case is about the protection of the independence of front-line judges with enforceable legal rights that are required under international law. Could I ask everyone to re-post and re-tweet again to raise the profile of this ground-breaking case.
Jan. 30, 2019
Immunity = Impunity
Monolithic institutions that control all messages have no incentive for self-examination or improvement. Justice should be a transparent matter, and the public should be able to see how decisions are produced as well as just seeing the decisions. This means giving Judges the right to know how decisions about them are made and to speak out about harms they see.
Nov. 30, 2018
Protect the whistle-blower's charity have asked to intervene in the case protecting the human right to speak out to prevent harm. A serious debate is beginning about how the justice system deals with its failures, with international support.
Nov. 16, 2018
Don't shoot the messenger
Listening, with others, to Lord Shinkwin speak feelingly of his own moment of decision: succumb to pressure to do something he knew to be wrong; or refuse and endure everything that refusal entailed. Too often institutions superficially adopt the messages of the whistle-blower with the right hand ; while still shooting messengers with the left to discourage potential others. It is heartening to hear a survivor.
Nov. 13, 2018
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes
Juvenal was worried about his house-guards succumbing to his wife's advances, but there is a serious side. Thank you to those of you who have subscribed, others have not felt able to use a public crowd-funding platform and approached solicitors Irwin Mitchell, thank you too.
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