Complaints about members of the judiciary rose by 7% in 2015/16 – but just a fraction resulted in an investigation.
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) yesterday reported it received 2,609 complaints last year, and dealt with a further 662 written enquiries.
Complaints ranged from misuse of judicial status to unfair discrimination and conflict of interest.
Of those, 1,538 could not be taken further as they related to a judicial decision or case management which could be challenged only through the court process.
Judith Anckorn, head of the JCIO, said such complaints were submitted ‘despite efforts to explain clearly the remit of the office’, but formed a significant part of the workload.
In total, 43 investigations resulted in the lord chancellor and lord chief justice taking disciplinary action – 32 fewer than the year before.
Fifteen magistrates and one tribunal member were removed from office, six through the summary process which allows for removal without further investigation.
District judges received the largest absolute number of complaints during the year with 963, followed by coroners (556), circuit judges (487) and High Court judges (161).
Three judges were reprimanded, three were given formal advice and one was handed a warning.
The JCIO was set up in April 2006 to investigate complaints about the personal conduct of judges in England and Wales. During the period covered by the report England and Wales had around 3,200 full- and part-time judges, 19,300 magistrates and 5,600 tribunal members.