Judge Jock: Cute QC’s Outed

PLUS - Newsflash: Blogging judges free to say anything.

Newsflash: Blogging judges free to say anything.

In a previously secret file leaked this week to Our Man At The Bar, New Zealand judges have given themselves the green light to perform uncensored judicial blogging.

Here’s what Their Honours say:

Blogging by Judicial Office Holders

Introduction
 - This guidance is issued on behalf of the Chief Justice, Heads of Bench and Presider of Tribunals. It applies to all courts and tribunal judicial office holders and is effective immediately.

Definitions - 
A “blog” (derived from the term “web log”) is a personal journal published on the internet. “Blogging” describes the maintaining of, or adding content to, a blog. Blogs tend to be interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments. They may also contain links to other blogs and websites. For the purpose of this guidance blogging includes publishing material on micro-blogging sites such as Twitter.

(Just get on with it, can’t you.)

Guidance
 - Judicial office holders should be acutely aware of the need to conduct themselves, both in and out of court, in such a way as to have a jolly good time living on the pig’s back, keeping their beaks fed and surrounded by loads of snivelling toadies.

(Break out the Bombay, Judge Jock, there’s a sweetie).

Blogging by members of the judiciary is not prohibited. Office holders who blog (or who post comments on other people’s blogs) should always identify themselves as members of the judiciary – or pin it on another Judge. They can say what they like, without fear or favour, and regardless of what other folk think. Remember, you are Judges and can do anything.

The above guidance also applies to blogs which purport to be anonymous. This is because it is impossible for somebody who blogs anonymously to guarantee that his or her identity cannot be discovered.

So if you are posting a rude or racey comment about another Judge, with or without candid party snaps, make sure your *rse is covered.

Judicial office holders who maintain blogs must adhere to this guidance and should remove any existing content which conflicts with it forthwith. Failure to dob in your pals will ultimately result in a taste of the Hot Poker.

PS: There is no need to read any namby-pamby guff about IT security and the like because – remember this – you are Judges and can get away with anything.

("Bottoms up…")

Any queries about this guidance should be directed to [name removed] at Judicial Office – Tel: 04 [removed] Email: [removed].

Some serious stuff

Judge spin doctor Neil Billington says he is not aware the issue of judicial blogging has arisen here, although it has done so recently in the UK.

The always forthcoming Neil says the general position is that there aren't any rules as such which apply to judges taking part in public discussion or debate, as judges are independent, but the Guidelines for Judicial Conduct, which are published on the Courts of NZ website, indicate the considerations which apply to judges participating in public debate.

“As I have said, these are not rules but are guidance for judges. Although blogging, or any other form of publication, isn't specified the Guidelines would cover most occasions where judges might speak out. As is also indicated, the Guidelines are revised as or when the judges see is needed.”

So there.

More serious stuff

District court judge Dave Harvey is said to be the only New Zealand judge to have his own website on which he bloggers-about extensively on a range of techie and social media stuff about what goes on in court and his travels to exotic overseas locations.

What Their Honours say

In a decision typical of the New Zealand bench for its technical purity, a just-released one-page blog ruling says simply:

“We’re in charge… We’ll say and do what we damned well like!!!”

Oh, the overwhelming wisdom, the immeasurable clarity...

“It’s what Judge Jock and my Gracious Self refer to as an 'open slather' situation,” Chief Justice Elias was at pains to explain to simpering sycophants draped about the Ladies and Escorts Lounge.

“Have a pint of chilled Pims, Ma’am,” weasled OMATB, "With your favourite wee cocktail umbrella."

“Our hip judges will once again lead the world with street-cred chatter,” boomed The Anointed One.

“For example, Asher J blew up a viral tsunami overnight with his incisive blogpost urging Christchurch earthquakers to sod off and live somewhere else.”

“That cool advice sure beats sitting about in a boring, repetitive, going-nowhere insurance trial.”

“And some of Dave Harvey’s wee nuggets fair get me going… ” Her Honour flushed, downing her No 1 with a flourish and taking off up The Lane in her customised sedan chair.

“She was quick to snaffle the change, Jock J,” OMATB wheezed.

More to come

In ensuing weeks Judge Jock will bring you some wee pearler’s blogged from the Bench, including judicial musings on who’s hot to trot among jurors, lawyers and other Judges.

Blogging judges will give an insight into sharp courtroom fashion including the leggy blonde factor, a quick call on guilt, and – thanks to a simple online Like/Dislike function sponsored by the TAB – enable folk to punt on the outcome.

(There’s even a box Trifecta running on multiple-accused trials.)

In other News - Early Entries in Cute QC Contest: 

Paul Davison

Judith Ablett-Kerr

Nigel Hampton

Stuart Grieve

Austin Forbes

Anne Hinton

Nominations, with photos of law school shenanigans, welcome.

Dropped because The Scunner's cellphone photos were too blurry:

A salicious probe of Judges’ Common Room frolics.

Work (Still) Under Gravest Legal Threat (We are – law firm name withheld because they have yet to shout - and we act for…)

Pop Up Guide to Being a Judge (Yawn). ("Is this ever going to see the light of day, Scunner???")

janderson@nbr.co.nz

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