Judges are not neutral?
1. A quote from J.A.G Griffith "[they had] aquired a strikingly homogenous collection of attitudes, beliefs and principles, which to them represent the public interest". This could possibly come from the fact they are mainly white, male, middle aged and Oxbridge educated.
2. Some Judges are known for membership of societies such as the Freemasons, which may make them bias in cases involving the police. For example, the Guilford Four and the Birmingham Six, which were high profile miscarriages of justice.
3. Bias against women? Average sentence for rapists were four years or less, when Appeal Court guidlines recommend five as a starting point.
4. Narrow social/professional backgrounds, such as class and education. Linked to point 1.
5. They favour the state over individuals and minorities. Conservative not Liberal approach. For example, in the 1980s, they favoured the police's brutality over Trade Unions.
Judges are neutral?
1. In recent years, more judges have favoured individuals and minorities.
2. There have been more Liberal judges, such as Woolf, Hoffman and Bingham.
3. Not allowed to show affiliation towards any political party and they criticise both main parties equally. Here are some examples.
- Ken Baker (Tory) found in contempt of court for failure to comply with court order in asylum case.
- Michael Howard (Tory) attempted to extend the sentences for James Bulger's killers, which was declared unlawful after judicial review.
4. A miscarriage of justice is likely to be made due to poor evidence or lack of evidence and not because of judge bias.