JCIO 26/24

Date: 21 May 2024





Declan Ball 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 Mr Declan Ball JP of the Greater Manchester Bench with formal advice for misconduct.

Magistrates sign a declaration and undertaking on appointment, which includes a commitment to be circumspect in their conduct and maintain the dignity, standing and good reputation of the magistracy at all times. The Guide to Judicial Conduct highlights the importance of courtesy, tolerance, and respect, and the guiding principle of integrity.

A complaint was made against Mr Ball by a fellow magistrate, who alleged that he had spread a ‘lie’ about her and another magistrate by falsely claiming that they had recorded a remote meeting without his consent. He sent an email to the Magistrates’ Association asking for the protocol on meetings being recorded without the participants’ consent. He added that his had happened to him once and it had concerned him.

In his representations, Mr Ball stated that he was working long hours abroad at the time and was very tired. He genuinely could not recall agreeing to the meeting being recorded and was concerned about the recording being distributed without his consent. His email to the Magistrates’ Association was generic and gave no details about the meeting.

Following an investigation under the Judicial Conduct (Magistrates) Rules 2023, a nominated committee member of the North-West Conduct Advisory Committee found that Mr Ball was aware the meeting had been recorded and gave his consent, and therefore told a reckless or deliberate untruth. His actions amounted to misconduct and caused distress to the two magistrates concerned.

In recommending formal advice, the nominated committee member took into account that Mr Ball may not have been aware that the magistrates concerned would see his email and did not intend this. She considered his behaviour to be an isolated lapse arising from a concern about how the recording would be used. She took into consideration that Mr Ball was concerned about having hurt the feelings of others and is committed to serving the community in his role as a magistrate.

Having considered the mitigation offered by Mr Ball, Mr Justice Keehan and the Lord Chancellor agreed with the nominated committee member’s recommendation.




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