Complaint against judge for supporting marriage dismissed
A complaint against a High Court judge who spoke out in favour of marriage has been dismissed by the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC).
Sir Paul Coleridge has served in the Family Division for over 50 years. He set up the Marriage Foundation to promote marriage as the “gold standard for relationships.”
But in May, a barrister lodged a complaint with the OJC, the body which deals with complaints about judges’ personal conduct. The barrister said Mr Justice Coleridge’s involvement with the foundation breached rules on impartiality.
Section 8.2.2 of the Guide to Judicial Conduct was cited, which states: “Care should be taken about the place at which, and the occasion on which, a judge speaks so as not to cause the public to associate the judge with a particular organisation, group or cause.”
It adds: “The participation should not be in circumstances which may give rise to a perception of partiality... or to a lack of even-handedness.”
But the OJC disciplinary panel, led by Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling and President of the Queen’s Bench Division Sir John Thomas,ruled that Mr Coleridge was not guilty of misconduct.
The OJC said: “Having considered all of the facts, the Lord Chancellor and the President of the Queen’s Bench Division (on behalf of the Lord Chief Justice) do not consider Mr Justice Coleridge’s involvement with the Marriage Foundation to be incompatible with his judicial responsibilities and therefore it does not amount to judicial misconduct.”
Welcoming the ruling, a spokesman for the Marriage Foundation said: “We are delighted that the misguided complaint against Sir Paul has been completely dismissed.
“He is now free to carry on his role as the head of the organisation that champions the institution of marriage and the many benefits that it brings to society”.