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UK judges may break tradition of silence to counter critics

[JURIST] A leading British judge has said that sitting judges are considering breaking tradition by speaking out against recent verbal attacks on the judiciary by government ministers [JURIST report] and elements of the press [Sun editorial]. Judge Keith Cutler, Secretary of the Council of Circuit Judges [official website], observed in a radio interview [recorded audio] Sunday that judges felt "that there was no-one speaking on behalf of the judges to the public." Other than Judge Cutler, only Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer [official profile] has defended the judges publicly [JURIST report]. BBC News has more.

Judge Cutler's remarks come in immediate response to criticism of the judiciary for imposing "lenient" sentences after a man convicted of molesting a three-year-old child received a life sentence, but was given the opportunity for parole after serving 6 years. Last month, however, government leaders also took a British judge to task [JURIST report] for what they called a "bizarre" ruling that Afghan hijackers who landed in the UK could not be deported, and last year tensions between the UK judiciary and the government ran high [JURIST report] in the wake of the July London bombings and government threats to direct judges how to rule [JURIST report] in terrorism deportation cases.

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