Whistle-blowing rights for Judges

by Claire Gilham

Whistle-blowing rights for Judges

by Claire Gilham
Claire Gilham
Case Owner
I'm short fat and sixty. A public service working life: local gov., Uni. , Health, the IPCC, a judge. Gardening for my bees , walking and chilling with friends, family, and four dogs for sanity.
27
days to go
£5,675
pledged of £50,000 stretch target from 84 pledges
Pledge now
Claire Gilham
Case Owner
I'm short fat and sixty. A public service working life: local gov., Uni. , Health, the IPCC, a judge. Gardening for my bees , walking and chilling with friends, family, and four dogs for sanity.
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: May 24, 2019

Let's Bundle!

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 Neuber...

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 .   


Recent contributions

Be a promoter

Your share on Facebook could raise £26 for the case

I'll share on Facebook
Update 5

Claire Gilham

May 24, 2019

Let's Bundle!

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.

Update 4

Claire Gilham

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. 

Update 3

Claire Gilham

Nov. 30, 2018

Growing support

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.

Update 2

Claire Gilham

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.

Update 1

Claire Gilham

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.

    There are no public comments on this case page.