Trying to get a person used to exercising discretion to put their anger into words can be an effort, Obiter has noticed. Left to their own devices, their statements need a bit of decoding. So we hereby launch the lord chief justice ‘Concern-O-Meter’, which will allow interested parties to monitor judicial annoyance levels.
In this baseline year, LCJ Lord Burnett of Maldon expresses concern nine times in his annual report, published last week.
To list the main ones: low levels of morale are a ‘considerable concern’ (natch); he remains ‘concerned’ that the public’s ‘impression of the judiciary is informed by outdated media stereotypes’; and there are concerns about welfare and training.
‘A small number of members of the judiciary and their families are subject to threats, verbal abuse and, occasionally, physical attacks from litigants and members of the public. This has led to widespread concern.’ Disparate and complex sentencing legislation ‘remains a cause for concern’. There are ‘nascent concerns’ about the ‘constitutional position of the legal profession’.
Stirring stuff. But Obiter is worried (or should that be concerned?) that Burnett may have left a few concerns off the list, and would love to hear of any omissions.