The number of judicial officeholders sacked last year was almost double that of the previous year, according to official figures.
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office’s annual report for 2014/15 reveals that 32 officeholders were removed in the year, compared with 17 in 2013/14. Last year’s total included 19 magistrates, eight tribunal judges and five judges.
There were 15 sanctions for not fulfilling judicial duties, nine for inappropriate behaviour or comments, two for civil proceedings or criminal convictions, one misuse of judicial status and four relating to professional conduct.
The higher figure is partly due to three officeholders being removed in March for viewing pornographic websites at work.
In addition, 16 judicial officeholders received a reprimand and a further 26 received formal advice or a warning. One judicial officeholder was suspended and 15 resigned during the course of disciplinary proceedings.
Despite the increase, JCIO head Judith Anckorn stressed that misconduct by judges is still rare when put in context.
‘During the period covered by this report there were approximately 3,553 members of the full- and part-time judiciary, approximately 19,360 magistrates and 6,226 tribunal members,’ she said.
‘In total, 75 cases resulted in formal disciplinary action, 17 more than reported in our last annual report. Disciplinary sanctions were issued to less than 0.2% of judicial officeholders.’
Of the 2,432 complaints received, 57% related to judicial decisions or case management and therefore could not be considered under the rules.