PCaW supports district judge Claire Gilham in Court of Appeal case

18th October 2017

PCaW, represented by law firm Leigh Day, was at the Court of Appeal (October 18-19) to support district judge Claire Gilham, over her lack of whistleblowing protection.

The case highlights the issue that judges are not afforded legal protections given to whistle-blowers because they are not classed as workers.

Head of Legal Services at PCaW, Roger Easy, said: “Many of the whistle-blowers PCaW has spoken to have been office holders like Claire Gilham. School governors, elected officials, non-executive directors, members of the judiciary, club officials, trustees and members of the clergy are all classed as office holders. Police officers, who are also office holders, have access to most statutory employment rights, including whistleblowing protection, so it is unclear why these other comparable groups do not.

He added, “Office holders occupy positions of responsibility and are likely to have access to information about an organisation that could show serious wrongdoing. It is essential people in these roles are protected. The danger of not affording judges access to whistleblowing protection is that they can be ignored when raising genuine concerns and then silenced or discouraged from ever speaking up again. When we consider the important role played by District Judges in the administration of justice, excluding them from whistleblowing protection is unacceptable.”

PCaW is intervening in the case as it has been campaigning for some time for the whistleblowing law, the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA), to be extended to cover all individuals, based on its experience in dealing with whistle-blowers and the whistleblowing legislation.

District Judge Claire Gilham is suing the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) after whistleblowing about excessive workloads whilst working in Cheshire which she claims damaged her health and well-being and led to potential miscarriages of justice due to under-funding in the justice system.
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