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Senior family judge reprimanded for failing to disclose driving ban

13 January 2012

Lord Justice Thorpe was reprimanded today by the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice for failure to disclose he had received a driving ban.

Thorpe LJ was banned from driving for eight weeks after going through a red light near the High Court early in the morning of 3 February last year. He had previously collected nine points for three separate speeding offences.

The senior family judge, who also runs a farm in Wiltshire, faced a six-month ban but he claimed in the City of Westminster’s magistrates’ that this would make it impossible to care for his cattle.

District Judge Daphne Wickham accepted his argument that there would be nobody else in the local community suitable to carry out the work.

Guidance for judges requires judicial office holders to inform their line managers of “any criminal offence other than a parking or minor traffic offence without aggravating circumstances”.

It is understood that this includes driving offences resulting in penalties of six or more points, or a ban.

In the case of Thorpe LJ, his line manager would have been the Master of the Rolls.

The single reprimand issued earlier today for “receiving a driving ban and for failing to adhere to the guidance regarding the reporting of traffic offences” covers two distinct failures.

Receiving a ban constitutes a breach of judicial conduct rules and can, of itself, prompt a judge’s manager to issue a warning. Failure to report constitutes a separate breach.

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Courts & Judiciary