guidance on small claims

Judges have a lot of litigants in person to deal with in both civil and family claims. Many people who might previously have had access to legal representation are now struggling on without help.

Judges’ roles are undoubtedly more difficult but in the press this week, there was news of a Judge snapping and conducting himself outrageously. It wasn’t even a case with litigants in person as solicitors were involved and present at the hearing.

According to the Law Society Gazette, His Honour Judge Dodds, was reprimanded by Court of Appeal Judges who found Dodds responsible for “unrestrained and immoderate language that had to be deplored”.

The case the Judge was dealing with related to an application for a DNA test, by a child trying to determine who her real father was.

The record of the investigation said “It was hoped that the Judge would read the transcript of the hearing and be embarassed. Appointment as a Judge was not a licence to be gratuitously rude to those appearing before him.”

Is this an instance of a problematic Judge or is the increased pressure on the court system coming to bear? Probably the first from the other allegations raised of him but might he have behaved differently if the civil court system was not under such pressure from government cuts.

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