'All we are asking is for the judiciary to follow government guidance'- FDA writes to the Lord Chief Justice
As the recognised union for prosecutors working in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the FDA has raised serious concerns with the Lord Chief Justice over the approach taken by some judges to applications from prosecutors to appear in court remotely.
The union has received deeply concerning reports from members working in the CPS about the attitude of some members of the judiciary, with reported conduct including asking for inappropriate personal details from advocates who are shielding, and suggesting prosecutors were 'working to rule' for applying to appear remotely.
In a letter to the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, the FDA has called for the Judicial Office to abide by government and civil service guidance and to make a statement making clear that cases requiring physical attendance remain the exception rather than the rule.
FDA National Officer Steven Littlewood said:
"The FDA believes the emphasis should be on justifying physical attendance where necessary rather than our members having to justify their remote attendance. Such an approach would be conducive to the interests of both justice and public health.
“Comments from some judges insinuating that prosecutors who wish to appear remotely are shirking or being difficult are extremely troubling.
"Our members have continued to work hard throughout this crisis and there is absolutely no reason to doubt their dedication now. All we are asking is for the judiciary to follow the government and civil service guidance.”