Commercial and Chancery Bar: Benchmarking the bench
It is now 18 months since the idea of judicial appraisals for senior commercial judges first hit the headlines. By the end of 2009, initial findings from the first round of appraisals should be complete. The process is likely to cover all High Court judges in the Commercial Court and Chancery Division, plus masters. Based on the ratings and opinions of court users - litigants, solicitors and barristers - individual appraisals will be distributed exclusively to each judge with a copy sent to the head of the relevant division. It seems possible that judges' league tables will also be made publicly available. A Legal Week survey conducted in 2007 of more than 100 senior litigators showed strong support for the idea: 43% of respondents said they would definitely endorse the introduction of upward appraisals for judges, with a further 41% indicating they might do so.
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