Most judges do not feel valued by the government or media, according to the latest comprehensive study of judicial attitudes.
The 2020 UK Judicial Attitude Survey, published this week, found that 96% of judges felt they provide an important service to society. However, only 9% felt valued by the government and 12% felt valued by the media. They felt most valued by judicial colleagues (94%), court staff (93%), the legal profession (89%), and the parties that appear before them (87%).
A further breakdown shows that 35% of judges felt the government did not value them at all.
A third of judges said they might quit over the next five years. As in the last survey, judges said the three factors that would make them stay are higher remuneration, better administrative support, and previous pension entitlements being restored.
The latest survey shows a slight improvement on the extent to which judges were concerned about their personal safety (42% in 2020 compared with 51% in 2016, when the question was asked for the first time). However, 45% of all female of judges were worried about personal safety in court, compared with 32% of male judges.
Judges refrain from posting on social media. However, last year, they were asked for the first time whether they would benefit from guidance on how to deal with social media. Nearly half (43%) wanted more guidance on how to deal with the internet and social media coverage of their work as a judge.
Asked about changes that concern them the most, loss of respect for judiciary by the government was the biggest – 78% were ‘extremely concerned’. This was followed by staff reductions, fiscal constraints, increase in litigants in person and loss of experienced judges.
Almost every salaried judge in England and Wales and UK-reserved tribunals participated in the latest survey, which was carried out between 27 May and 22 June last year.
Due to the timing of the survey, judges were asked about remote working. While the quality of internet access when working remotely was mostly good or adequate, almost half of all judges said the standard of IT equipment available for working remotely was poor or non-existent, and IT support for working remotely was also poor.