Annual Report 2022-23

Judicial Complaints Reviewer Annual Report 2022-2023_0.pdf

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5. Overview of the Year

Of the twenty two cases I received, I have completed reviews on fifteen cases and had seven cases withdrawn by 31 August 2023 – an additional two cases have been carried over into year two (2023/24) and have not been included in the yearly figures or statistics for this Annual Report. One of the completed review cases included in this report was carried forward from my predecessor and is recorded as such in the JCR 2021/22 report. Of the completed reviews, thirteen cases were complaints against JOH with two against a TM. In reviewing the handling of complaints by the JOS, based on the information available to me, I found no substantive breaches of the Rules. There were no issues which required me to make any written representations to the Lord President about procedures for handling the investigation of matters concerning the conduct of JOH/TM.

During the year, 1 September 2022 to 31 August 2023:
The JOS handled:

  • 77 court judiciary complaints, with an additional 4 cases being carried over. This is a
    decrease of 12 complaints over 2021/22.
  • 11 Tribunal complaints were raised with the JOS in that period with an additional 1
    case being carried over. This is an increase of 5 complaints over 2021/22.

The JOS publishes statistics about complaints4

During the year, 1 September 2022 to 31 August 2023, the JCR received:

  • 20 requests for review of Judicial complaints, by post/E-Mail.
  • 2 request for review of a Scottish Tribunal complaints, by post/E-Mail.

In this year there has been a rise of ten cases in the number of requests for review by the JCR.
2022/23 – 22
2021/22 – 12
2020/21 – 14
2019/20 – 06
2018/19 – 07
2017/18 – 17
2016/17 – not published5
2015/16 – 37
2014/15 – 40
2013/14 – 29
2012/13 – 23
2011/12 – 20

Due to a latent IT server issue there were eighteen E-Mails requesting action by the JCR which had not been passed to my predecessor in his five years of tenure. As part of my role I followed up on these E-Mails, as a result ten of the E-Mailers were unable to provide the information necessary to either request or allow me to conduct a review. Five of the review requesters responded to my follow up and then subsequently withdrew their request for a review. Three requests for review were actioned as cases by myself. Both these actioned cases and the withdrawn requests for review are included in the figures for the 2022/23 year.

I believe these additional eight requests for review as part of the above listed IT server issue constitute a specific reason for this increase in the number of cases this year.

In addition to the five cases listed above by E-Mail as withdrawn, there were another two received by post which were subsequently withdrawn.

In 2022/23, 53 complaints (69% of the total number of cases) recorded by the JOS were dismissed under Rule 8(4)(b) of the Rules, whereas in 2021/22 the figure was 62 (70% of the total number of cases). The JOS cannot deal with complaints about judicial/tribunal decisions made by a JOH/TM, or the way that cases have been handled. A judicial decision is defined in the interpretation section at Paragraph 21 of the Rules:

“Judicial decision” includes: a judgment in a case; a decision in relation to the conduct of
proceedings; a decision in relation to case management; and a decision in relation to court

Thirteen of the fifteen cases of which I completed a review of in 2022/23 involved judicial decisions. It is a recurring feature in judicial complaints where the majority of complaints arise from the complainant being unhappy with the outcome of the Court/Tribunal process i.e. they do not agree with the ‘judicial decision’ reached by the JOH/TM. That judicial decision, however, can only be challenged by appeal or, in some administrative matters, by judicial review.

Most complaints received by the JOS are from the public where cases involving family and property law are the most frequent.

There has been no request for review by a judicial officer holder who has been the subject of a complaint.

There has been no request to the JCR on Freedom of Information (FOI).

To comply with the principles of the Data Protection Act 2018, the JCR Privacy Notice is published on the JCR website6

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