With the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, I have today published the annual report of the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC). The OJC provides support to the Lord Chief Justice and myself in our joint responsibility for the system of judicial complaints and discipline.
I welcome the publication of this report, the second produced by the OJC, which publishes details of the work undertaken by the office over the last year and the complaints which it has dealt with.
The OJC’s 2006-07 report marked the first occasion on which comprehensive details of complaints received about Judicial Office Holders had been made available to the public in this manner. I am pleased to note that the OJC continues to build on this foundation and believe that this report highlights the continued progress made by the OJC in delivering a high quality, effective and transparent service to all of its customers.
The Lord Chief Justice and I are keen to ensure that the disciplinary process for judicial office holders is both transparent and accountable. To that end, we have agreed that, from today, where a judicial office holder has been removed from office following disciplinary procedures, there should now be a presumption that both the identity of that judicial office holder, and the reason for their removal, should be made public. While mindful of this presumption, we will nonetheless continue to make decisions about disclosure on a case-by-case basis.
Where a judicial office holder has been subject to a lesser sanction than removal this presumption does not apply. However, we will continue to give consideration to the disclosure of relevant information in cases that have attracted a high degree of interest from the public and media.
Copies of the report are available in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. Copies of the report are also available on the Internet at: http://www.judicialcomplaints.gov.uk/publications/publications.htm.