Problem

Incompetent judges

Other Names:
Inadequate training of judges
Nature:
The judges who dispense justice have great power over the lives and liberty of other people but are sometimes inadequately prepared, either because of lack of proper training or because they have been appointed to a position for which they are not appropriately qualified. It is injurious to litigants, and to their families, as well as to the prosecutors, defendants and the jury, when a judge is inadequately trained to preside over a trial on which much is at stake for all involved.
Incidence:
In the UK, where there is no specific training for judges (judges are chosen from the ranks of the senior bar and, to a lesser extent, from solicitors), lawyers are given only a 3 1/2 day induction course before they preside over cases.
Claim:
According to a chairman of the UK Bar, judges are inadequately trained, unaccountable for their behaviour and appointed under an arcane system damaged and flawed by pointless secrecy. The selection procedure fails on all the main tests of an acceptable appointment system: open and accountable; all vacancies advertised; proper definition of job and qualities required; and no arbitrary age limits. Compared with the system for selection of senior civil servants it is deficient in: formal procedures, accountability of the people involved, and disclosure or discussion with potential recruits.
Counter Claim:
Since lawyers have already learned to assess both sides of an issue (which is, after all, what a judge does), that legal training may be an adequate prerequisite; indeed, it is an affront to an attorney's independence and ability to suggest that his or her legal expertise is insufficient to allow a position on the bench.
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Date of last update
22.02.1999 – 00:00 CET