Judge Loses High Court Battle over Promotion Bid

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High court promotion process
Image courtesy: The Standards

A legal showdown unfolded as 52-year-old District Judge Kate Thomas, overseeing Walsall County Court, contested her denied promotion to a circuit judge.

Promotion Denied: District Judge Kate Thomas lost her High Court battle against the Judicial Appointments Commission, challenging their decision to reject her bid for a circuit judge role.

Unfair Decision Claim: Thomas argued that the commission’s refusal to recommend her for the position was unjust, prompting her to take legal action against them.

Commission Disputes Claims: The Judicial Appointments Commission disputed Thomas’s allegations, leading to a High Court judgment against her.

Justice Swift’s Verdict: High Court Judge Mr. Justice Swift, after assessing arguments, concluded that Thomas did not present a valid case for contesting the commission’s decision.

Not Presently Selectable: The commission’s Selection and Character Committee had deemed Thomas “not presently selectable” for the role, complicating her career advancement.

Allegations and Concerns: Thomas, who handles civil and family cases in Walsall and serves as an assistant coroner in Kent, alleged being part of an “old boys’ club” in the judiciary.

Long-standing Public Concern: Nicholas Bowen KC, representing Thomas, highlighted the persistent public concern about the judiciary being perceived as an exclusive “old boys’ club.”

Unpleasant Row and Bullying Allegation: Bowen disclosed that Thomas had a contentious encounter with a senior judge, leading to a “particularly unpleasant” row where she made a “bullying” allegation.

Fear of Blackballing: Thomas believed she was “blackballed” and expressed concerns about what she perceived as “secret soundings,” fearing it would hinder her career progression.

Gender and Professional Bias: Bowen raised the issue of gender and professional bias, claiming it’s easier for white males from specific social backgrounds to ascend the judicial ladder.

Stuck in Current Role: Thomas felt “stuck” in her current position, with concerns that her standing up against perceived injustices might have adversely affected her career prospects.

Despite the legal battle, Thomas faces the reality of continuing in her present role, with the court dismissing her claim and endorsing the commission’s decision.

Re-reported from the article originally published in The Standards

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