I have great faith in our judiciary. I believe that our judges make their decisions based on their experience, the law and common-sense. Yes, occasionally, a judge passes a sentence that is not generally popular – it is either too lenient or too harsh in most people’s mind. However, there is a process to appeal such a sentence to maintain a sense of balance.
Occasionally a judge errs in terms of a point of law or perhaps in the words used before a jury retires to decide. Judges are only human. So why does it seem that so many people dislike judges or that the media constantly highlights judicial traditions? An example that arises every year, concerns the expenses that judges claim in the context of doing their job. The media go to great lengths to reveal the highest claimants but why? Is it all for a story? Are they relying on people reading such articles and the public clamour resulting? Judges, like everyone else who travel extensively for their jobs, are entitled to claim reasonable expenses. Are they expected to sleep in their cars and only eat cheap fast foods?
Anyone who travels regularly for business reasons knows that it is not a ‘jolly’. They know and understand the loneliness of staying away from one’s home and family. They understand what it is like to miss the home cooking, the favourite couch, watching a TV series with your loved ones. There is absolutely nothing wrong with judges claiming legitimate expenses. The fact that their expenses are available to view by the public should be extremely reassuring as it proves that they have nothing to hide and are hiding nothing.