Judge disciplined for third time over delayed rulings

A High Court judge has been disciplined for a third time over late judgments – but he will stay on the bench until his retirement next year.

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office this week confirmed that The Honourable Mr Justice Timothy King had been subject to an investigation following a complaint about a ‘severe delay’ in producing a judgment.

It was noted by the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice that Mr Justice King had previously received two reprimands for delayed judgments. The JCIO said: ‘However, after carefully considering mitigation offered by Mr Justice King, including a serious family illness, they have decided to issue him with a further reprimand.

‘The Lord Chief Justice has also directed that arrangements be put in place to prevent further delays to Mr Justice King’s judgments between now and his retirement in April 2019.’

No further details were given about the length of delay or the type of cases it related to.

In one of Mr Justice King’s most recent cases, Sherratt v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, more than a year passed between the hearing date and the judgment in July 2018.

In TW (A Child) v Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Mr Justice King made the judgment in December 2017, after the hearing had finished in October 2016.

Mr Justice King is due to reach mandatory retirement age of 70 next April. He was appointed to the bench in 2007. The Oxford graduate was called to the bar in 1973 and took silk in 1991.

Disciplinary action against a serving judge is rare: the JCIO annual report for 20116/17 revealed that four members of the courts judiciary were sanctioned in that period, of which one was reprimanded and three were removed.

The same report noted that just nine complaints were made about judicial delays in the 2016/17 year. The figures for 2017/18 have yet to be published.

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