Sitting in judgment - the working lives of judges

Darbyshire, Penny (2014) Sitting in judgment - the working lives of judges. In: Guest lecture; 3 Mar 2014, Birmingham, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Penny will discuss the research reported in this book (Hart Publishing, 2011). This was a wide and deep observational project on the working lives of judges at every level of the English legal system, from district judges to the UK Supreme Court, in all six circuits and in family, civil and criminal courts. The project's aims were to find out what judges were like and what they did. The unique method used was work-shadowing 40 core-sample judges and interviewing a further 37. The project took over seven years and the author was allowed unlimited access to information. She sat next to the judges on the bench, travelled on circuit with High Court judges and was permitted to observe and report on the deliberations of appellate judges. The result provides an unparalleled insight. In this paper, Professor Penny Darbyshire gives an account of the research, using this unique method, and outlines her main findings on the judges' working personalities, their approach and attitudes to work, court users and their working environment.

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