Date: 07 June 2023
A spokesperson for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said:
The Senior President of Tribunals, on behalf of the Lord Chief Justice and with the Lord Chancellor’s agreement, has issued Dr John Bennett, a medical member of the War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Chamber (WPAFCC), with formal advice for misconduct.
The Guide to Judicial Conduct states that judges should strive to ensure that their conduct, both in and out of court, maintains and enhances the confidence of the public, the legal profession and litigants, in their personal impartiality and that of the judiciary.
Information which raised a question of potential misconduct was referred to the chamber president of the WPAFCC after Dr Bennett directly contacted the representative for one of the parties in a case without the other in an attempt to secure a listing date for a follow up hearing. In doing so, Dr Bennett revealed personal details about his fellow panel members to a third party.
Dr Bennett accepted full responsibility for his actions and apologised. He explained that he was concerned for a vulnerable appellant and was trying to secure a new listing date before the same panel. He thought he was acting with the approval of the panel and the respondent’s representative.
Following an investigation, the chamber president found that Dr Bennett’s actions amounted to misconduct. In deciding to issue Dr Bennett with formal advice, the Senior President of Tribunals and Lord Chancellor took into consideration Dr Bennett’s apology and the singular nature of the incident.
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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