Date: 30 March 2023
A spokesperson for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said:
Mr Justice Keehan, on behalf of the Lord Chief Justice and with the Lord Chancellor’s agreement, has issued Colin Adams JP with a formal warning for contravening guidance to the judiciary about contact with the media and discussing political issues.
Guidance for the judiciary advises judicial office-holders to consult their relevant leadership judge and ensure that they are not described by their judicial role when taking part in media interviews. The Guide to Judicial Conduct cautions that participation in public debate risks undermining public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary.
On 13 April, Mr Adams was interviewed on BBC Radio Essex. He discussed covid rule breaches by Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, government policies, and criminal law. Although he had asked the interviewer not to mention his judicial status, when it was mentioned in the interview Mr Adams did not correct the interviewer to make clear that he was speaking in a private capacity or stop the interview. He later received an apology from BBC Radio Essex for introducing him as a magistrate.
Following an investigation by the South-East Region Conduct Advisory Committee, Mr Adams was found to have demonstrated a lack of judgement and risked bringing the magistracy into disrepute. In deciding to issue him with a formal warning, Mr Justice Keehan and the Lord Chancellor took into account that Mr Adams accepted that it was inappropriate to comment on politically sensitive topics, and had expressed remorse over 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 - email@example.com
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