Are there any common misunderstandings about district judges

District judges talk about the perceived conceptions of judges and the reality.

Transcript of video interviews with district judges

“Commonly the public perceive court rooms as very formal places, often quite large, where the barristers and the judge are wearing wigs and gowns and they find it quite intimidating. Most of my work is not done in that sort of atmosphere at all. It’s done in a relatively small room and everybody just sits round a table essentially. We have some structure to it just to make sure that there is control over the proceedings and everything is tape-recorded, but except when I’m dealing with larger trials in open court, I don’t wear a gown and I don’t wear a wig at all.”

“As district judges in the county court for all our family work we wear business suits; we don’t wear robes for those sorts of cases. Some of the civil work we still do wear robes for, but that is probably a small percentage of the work, certainly not a majority of the work, but the court room is still a formal environment; the rules of court procedure still apply.”

“Yes, it’s one of those things that if you go to a party and people say ‘what do you do?’ and you admit to being a judge, people take a step back, they assume that you’re going to first of all, report them for drink driving, or for tax fraud, and you can put that to one side but I think people are right to expect judges to be of the highest standards and so it’s important I think, that the way you behave reflects the trust that the public put in you.”