JCIO 07/24

Date: 1 March 2024





Mrs Brenda Bruce JP


A spokesperson for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said:

Mr Justice Keehan, on behalf of the Lady Chief Justice and with the Lord Chancellor’s agreement, has issued Mrs Brenda Bruce JP with formal advice for misconduct.

Magistrates sign a declaration and undertaking on appointment. This includes making a commitment to report to their bench chair if they become personally involved in impending court proceedings. The Guide to Judicial Conduct states that judicial office holders are expected to display respect for the law and prudent management of financial affairs.

A case of potential misconduct was referred to the South East Region Conduct Advisory Committee (SERCAC) after Mrs Bruce failed to notify her bench chair that civil proceedings had been commenced against her and that she had received a liability order for non-payment of Council Tax.

In representations, Mrs Bruce explained that she had received a summons for payment of Council Tax for the full year for a property, which she had sold in April 2023. After requesting a revised bill, she received a liability order for the lesser amount, which she paid immediately. After contacting the council in July 2023, which could not find a record of the liability order, Mrs Bruce wrongly assumed that it had been withdrawn. Mrs Bruce apologised for her actions, explained that there had been a lot going on in her personal life and that it had not been a deliberate attempt to mislead her bench chair.

Following an investigation, a conduct panel of the SERCAC found that Mrs Bruce should have been aware of her duty to inform her bench chair of civil proceedings, given her long service as a magistrate. The panel also found that Mrs Bruce had not managed her financial affairs prudently but took into consideration Mrs Bruce’s apology, her unblemished 20 year conduct record and the personal mitigation she offered.

Mr Justice Keehan and the Lord Chancellor agreed with the conduct panel’s findings and issued Mrs Bruce with formal advice.




Notes for Editors


Media queries in relation to the JCIO should be made in the first instance to the Judicial Press Office - telephone 020 7073 4852 or via email - press.enquiries@judiciary.gsi.gov.uk


Sanctions for misconduct by judicial office-holders are set out in the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. They are, in order of severity: formal advice, formal warning, reprimand and removal from office.

For more information about the Office, including details on how to make a complaint against a judicial office holder, you can visit the JCIO website at: Judicial Conduct Investigations website