A solicitor denied appointment as a district judge because he had one too many penalty points on his driving licence has lost a legal challenge to the decision.
Graham Stuart Jones, a partner at Swansea firm Smith Llewelyn Partnership and a deputy district judge, applied for appointment as district judge in June 2013.
Despite being assessed as an ‘outstanding candidate’ for the post with a recommendation for ‘immediate appointment’, the selection and character committee rejected his application because he was not ‘of good character’.
Jones had seven penalty points on his driving licence as a result of two convictions. One was for speeding in August 2010, for which he was fined £650 and received four penalty points. The second was for failing to obey a traffic signal in 2012, for which he received a fixed penalty and three points.
Jones challenged the decision by way of judicial review. Finding against him in the High Court, Sir Brian Leveson said the Judicial Appointments Commission’s guidelines stating that having more than six points will ‘normally prevent’ selection were lawful and the JAC had exercised its discretion.
Leveson said: ‘The JAC is entitled to take the view that public confidence in the standards of the judiciary would not be maintained if persons who are appointed to judicial office have committed motoring offences resulting in penalty points… within four years of their appointment.’
But he added: ‘I conclude by hoping that, as the first of his convictions will fall away later this year, he will consider re-applying when the next competition is launched.’