Leadership responsibilities

Judges often hold additional responsibilities over and above their day to day duty.

Local Criminal Justice Board

Each of the LCJB has a circuit judge from the local area as a point of liaison. The Judge is independent of the board itself but receives all the minutes and is encouraged to attend the meetings especially when issues relating to the judiciary arise. Often the LCJBs have open days where judges sit on mock trials, which the public are invited to attend, and answer questions about their roles, the law and the court system.

Judge members of the Probation Board

A Crown Court judge appointed by the Lord Chancellor must sit as a member of a Probation Board in their local area, ideally for around ten meetings a year.

Although the judge is a full time member of the board and can therefore make significant contributions to topics discussed they cannot advise the board on any legal issues that may arise. Instead the judge’s role is to spot problems and identify issues that appear whilst ensuring especial attention is paid to the matters in which the court has a particular interest.

The judge should have a pivotal role in advising the board on how resources might best be used and most importantly should highlight to other members changes that are brought about by Acts of Parliament when they relate to the work of the criminal courts or the Probation Service.

The Responsibilities of Resident Judges and Designated Civil and Family Judges

In each area there are arrangements which enable the Resident Judge, Designated Civil Judge and Designated Family Judge to meet with all levels of the judiciary to discuss and reach agreement on issues concerning the administration of justice.

Amongst their other duties some more general responsibilities of a Resident Judge can include:

  • Reviewing information relating to the courts e.g. waiting times
  • Giving guidance for the efficient conduct of the business of the court
  • Ensuring that cases of particular importance or sensitivity are heard by a judge specifically assigned to that case

Magistrates

The Magistrates Liaison Judge chairs an Area Judicial Forum which deals with judicial matters in relation to the business of the Magistrates’ Courts, and co-ordinates with the Crown Court and other family courts.

Liaison Judges’ roles include:

  • Helping to ensure that magistrates who sit in the Crown Court are treated in every way as full members of the court.
  • Arranging for magistrates to attend the Crown Court from time to time as observers.
  • Swearing in new magistrates.
  • Ensuring, through consultation with the Designated Family Judge, that there is in place a system for appropriate communication between magistrates sitting in the family jurisdiction and the Designated Family Judge.

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