I have said on many occasions that the days of the Virtual Lawyer are not far off – in many respects they are already here.
But it seems that the days of the Virtual Judge are still some distance away.
According to Guidance issued by Senior Judges and posted on the Legal Cheek site. The guidance does not actually ban blogging by judges but certainly does not encourage it. It says that judges who write a blog must not identify themselves as such or say anything that might damage public confidence in the judiciary.
Judges are told in no uncertain terms to follow these guidelines and take down any material which does not comply under threat of disciplinary action.
This is an unfortunate development.
I have written before about the need for a judiciary which is relevant and in touch with modern culture and thinking.
We need judges who blog so that the world can see the real world in which they live and work. If judges are perceived as remote and out of touch the courts will be seen in the same way.
Why shouldn’t the public be allowed to see what judges do? Why does it undermine the confidence of the public if a judge wishes to share his world online? The whole purpose of this blog and others is to show the world that lawyers are human and have a life outside of the office.
The same should surely go for judges.
I hope that those judges who wish to blog will strongly oppose these guidelines.