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JUDGES MUST BE ELECTED BY PUBLIC

Comment 8th July 2010

For too long now the criminal justice system has lived by its own rules, in particular the judiciary which enjoys privileges which ensure that true power belongs to only a few. In the present system, judges are 'appointed', usually by their own or other powerful people, like the PM. Instead of open, visible and true democracy, we have like for like choices; all of it done in true cloak and dagger style. We must be allowed to elect judges just as we elect our members of parliament and all of it must be 'visible' for it to be credible.

The judiciary need a fundamental shake up. If everyone has had one, it is more than high time they did too.

Why does this matter?

Far too often judges have similar sets of experiences and prejudices and disapprove strongly of anyone even thinking to bring change to their ranks; traditions which hark back to times so archaic it would not be acceptable in any other field!

There is a misconception in this country that judges are right, that they do not make mistakes, that a judges job is only to sum up the law. That is complete nonsense, as those who have been victims of miscarriages of justice will tell you. The judiciary, far too often, overtstep their role and are allowed to because there is no recourse to challenging them. Most judges believe it is their job to steer juries towards verdicts, which later prove controversial. They feel it is their role to direct juries towards verdicts which they deem necessary and right. Far too often, because most judges are ex prosecutors, they bring guilty assumptions to bear on a case, which has nothing to do with facts of law or even the facts themselves. This should not be allowed. Judges must be neutral and should only comment on the law. Not side themselves with the prosecution.

In order to make the system fairer and more representative of the people it tries, judges, in addition to being elected, should have a lay judge with them. A lay judge would be someone who has chosen to become a judge in the same way as someone chooses to be a doctor or teacher etc, not mere appointees by others within the system. Being a judge should be open to scrutiny and held accountable to the Ministry of Justice.

 

In the current system, there are very few cross section of people reflecting the multi-cultural society that the UK is. The judiciary must be in touch with the public, it must reflect the ordinary person and should uphold their interests rather than the states, so far I don't believe that is true. Such a system would only work if the judiciary were separated from the state and the controlling powers given to the public, who in the end is most affected by it.

 

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