What is our role?

Transcript of video interviews with district judges

1. “My work involves a real variety of different sorts of work. The one thing it doesn’t involve is crime. We don’t deal with any criminal cases at all and that’s often a surprise to people.”

2. “I could do anything from small claims, possession list, mortgage possession, rent act possession, bankruptcy work, matrimonial work, children work, ancillary relief, care – a huge range of work I do which is what makes the job so enjoyable.”

3. “The jurisdiction and range of work that a district judge would undertake has grown hugely. In family, and in civil as well, the financial limits of cases that the district bench try has increased, and also in family work the seriousness and complexity of the cases that we deal with has increased.”

4. “Anyone who manages to survive their life without having some involvement with a county court case is pretty lucky, and I say that because we cover so many aspects of everyday life. We cover insolvency; mortgage repossessions; small claims; ‘that computer was rubbish, you owe me £5000’, ‘bank charges were unfair’; disputes between parties to relationships, husbands and wives and civil partners and so on; disputes relating to the welfare of children; care cases, residence, contact, disputes about the parentage of children. I could go on but that’s just a snap-shot of a very wide, a very broad jurisdiction.”

5. “People assume that I sit all day in a wig and gown, which is not true. People assume that I have a gavel, which I don’t – no judge in this country has a gavel, and people assume when I say I’m a judge that I hear criminal cases and spend my days putting people to prison. I have never heard a criminal case in my life, although I have occasionally imprisoned people, but very, very rare, so district judges do civil work and family work, we don’t do crime.”