Judges would benefit from greater public scrutiny, the President of the Family Division has suggested.
Speaking at an event on social media and the family courts earlier this week, Sir James Munby claimed modern judges are prone to making mistakes because they are “grotesquely overworked” and “tired”. One solution to this problem, he suggested, would be greater transparency in the family courts – a recurring topic with Britain’s most senior family law judge.
According to a report in The Telegraph, Sir James insisted that judges should not be “immune from criticism” and that journalists should be able to say “the whole thing [ruling] is flawed, the premises are all wrong, the facts are all wrong“.
But, he explained:
“The simple fact is that at present journalists can’t do that without access to the evidence and without reporting what went on in court and saying well, this judge seems to be listening to a different witness than I, and the impression I got from listening to this witness was X,Y,Z and the judge says A,B,C. So I think there are very real problems there.”
The veteran judge added:
“We’ve got to be much more honest about this, and if we are honest about it, things go wrong.”
Many parents “in these care cases” leave family court without understanding what happened during the hearing, the President suggested.
“And that is an indictment of our system, not of them.”