Date:14 November 2022
A spokesperson for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said:
The Senior President of Tribunals, acting on behalf of the Lord Chief Justice and with the Lord Chancellor’s agreement, has issued Mr Kevin Blake, Dr Gopal Sharma, and Judge Linda McGarr (“the members”) of the First Tier Tribunal (War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Chamber) (“WPAFCC”) with sanctions for misconduct.
At an appeal hearing on 9 August, Mr Blake, Dr Sharma, and Judge McGarr were overheard by the appellant discussing him and his case during an adjournment. While it was not improper for the members to discuss the case in private, Mr Blake made a remark about the appellant’s Welsh nationality.
Following investigation of a complaint by the appellant, the remark was found to be discriminatory. He received a formal warning.
Judge McGarr was found to have used a disrespectful term in relation to the appellant’s intelligence and to have failed to challenge Mr Blake’s remark. She received a formal warning.
Although Dr Sharma did not say anything improper, he failed to challenge Mr Blake’s remark and treated it light-heartedly. He received formal advice.
In reaching their decision, the Senior President of Tribunals and Lord Chancellor took into consideration that, while there was no evidence that the appellant had been treated unfairly in relation to his case, the members’ conduct breached the important expectation set out in the Guide to Judicial Conduct that office-holders should treat people with courtesy and respect the dignity of all. They also took into account that all the members had previously unblemished conduct records, had expressed regret for the offence caused to the appellant, and that some of the appellant’s allegations were not upheld.
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 - email@example.comSanctions 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