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You guys need to get this article cleaned up and make it as something that the world can relate and view, not just related to the United States Judicial system. Please hurry up in fixing this article! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:26, 4 October 2007 (UTC)

Bench Trial[edit]

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What does "A court trial is before a judge only." mean? I am a barrister in England and Wales and I have never heard the term "court trial" used in this fashion. Does "court trial" mean (in whatever jurisdiction, I suspect the US) a trial conducted without a jury, in which case this is a definition and should be flagged as such, or does it mean something quite different? Please explain. Francis Davey 13:38, 26 August 2005 (UTC)

In the US a trial where the judge is the finder of fact instead of a jury is commonly referred to as a "bench trial." I'm going to change it to say "bench trial" with a disclaimer that it is a US term. The terminology comes from the "bar" which is the area between the general courtroom and the attorneys; then there is the "bench" where the judge/court sits. Peyna 18:44, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
Ah, I am familiar with what a "bench trial" is, although the term is fairly rare here. Very few cases are heard with juries and most of those are trials on indictment, for which there is already a term. I am in court about 90% of the time and have never seen a jury while in practice or training. Francis Davey 19:08, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
I'm still not completely satisfied with how this is worded; since there can be bench trials in criminal and civil cases. Peyna 19:48, 1 September 2005 (UTC)
Just to clarify further: Americans use the term "bench trial" to distinguish situations where the judge is the finder of fact, because our default trial is the jury trial. We do jury trials all the time, as you've probably noticed from our movies and TV shows.
Our public policy is that judges and lawyers will become immune or insensitive over time to the pain and suffering of litigants. After all, they see such terrible things in gruesome detail every day, while most people hear only about the occasional shocking case on the TV news. So, our ideal is that a jury will hear the evidence and make findings of fact that reflect the sensibilities of society as a whole, rather than the hardened notions of the typical judge or lawyer. That's why we force practically all able-bodied American citizens to participate in jury duty every now and then. --Coolcaesar 00:23, 2 September 2005 (UTC)
Sort of right, except that the majority of cases in the United States never see a jury. We definitely have more bench trials than jury trials. A jury is only Constitutionally guaranteed in criminal cases (which excludes things like traffic offenses and other "minor" offenses), and in Federal civil cases involving more than twenty dollars. Aside from that it varies state by state, but for a variety reasons many civil cases result in either a directed verdict (judge makes the verdict without using the jury, upon request of either counsel) or summary judgment (there is no issue of fact). So while juries are important; a lot of times they're not used. I'm also unsure about your statements about "the hardened notions of the typical judge or lawyer." For instance, lawyers used to be prohibitted from sitting on juries, but in most states there is no blanket exception anymore, because fears about what they might do to the jury turned out to be unfounded. Anyway, we're getting off topic, the article is entitled "Judge". Peyna 01:18, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Our public policy is that judges and lawyers will become immune or insensitive over time to the pain and suffering of litigants. After all, they see such terrible things in gruesome detail every day, while most people hear only about the occasional shocking case on the TV news. So, our ideal is that a jury will hear the evidence and make findings of fact that reflect the sensibilities of society as a whole, rather than the hardened notions of the typical judge or lawyer.

Just a side note: there were several high profile cases of jury trials in France where the jury's findings of guilt were criticized. For instance, in the case of one infamous trial of people suspected of pedophilia, it is suspected that the jury fell for the general athmosphere of "not letting them get away with it", while they should have weighed whether there were proofs (knowing that doubt must benefit the defendant).

Thus, the claim that juries are more sympathetic to defendants than judges are highly dispurable. David.Monniaux 22:27, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

Fictional Judges[edit]

judge jules and judge dread exist, but they are not really judges! hence fictional :) Steeev 23:14, 4 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Thats why I added "or not real" to the heading! Cheers :-) quercus robur 23:17, 4 Dec 2003 (UTC)
oops sorry, didnt read before i wrote or look before i leaped  :) Steeev 23:19, 4 Dec 2003 (UTC)
then again fictional and not real, could be deemed to mean the same thing ;-) Steeev 23:20, 4 Dec 2003 (UTC)


We have got Judge, which includes a list, and List of jurists, not to mention several separate lists by jurisdiction. Needs sorting out. Any proposals? Cutler 00:42, Dec 9, 2004 (UTC)

If one day I have time, I'll move the dress of French judges to Court dress, but... David.Monniaux 18:37, 17 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Can someone seperate a page for "Judge" the Anime, which links right here? - i've watched the anime and can start a page, but i'm not sure how to physically create a new page. 1:30 2nd June 2005 (GMT)

Appointment / Election[edit]

Would a section detailing more about judicial appointment / election processes be appropriate here or maybe somewhere else? I've done a little bit of looking and don't see this being covered anywhere on Wikipedia; anyone have any suggestions? I'd be more than willing to get things started. Peyna 18:52, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Judicial selection has been largely covered in court system articles. Ohwilleke 22:11, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Well, all I can say is that judges are definitely NOT elected. Eenyminy 15:40, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

I think it would be a decent addition. It seems to be a topic inherently related to judges - at least a link to the court system articles that detail this would be appropriate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:33, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Lay Judges[edit]

Under the heading "Judges in the legal system" it says that Finland makes use of lay judges. This is also the case in Sweden (see My guess is that there are additional countries making use of lay judges, besides Finland and Sweden. These lay judges are in Sweden known as "nämndeman" (pl. "nämndemän"), which usually translated into "lay assessor" (Norstedts English Dictionary).

Ohwilleke 05:56, 22 February 2007 (UTC) The term doesn't translate particularly well. Civil law "lay judges" are neither comparable to a U.S. Justice of the Peace, who has the full authority of a judge and acts alone, despite a lack of legal training, in less important cases, nor to a petite juror who is chosen at random to decide cases in a particular matter under the supervision of a legally trained judge (although the later is a little closer to the role involved). The most analogous position in the common law system to a lay judge is that of a grand juror, who hears many cases over a prolonged period with similar lay persons, with some authority to consider matters of both fact and law, but a European lay judge would generally hear the merits of cases like a U.S petite juror, while a U.S. grand juror would often handle only preliminary screening of criminal cases brought by prosecutors.

In the United States, we have some odd differences from state to state. See state court and state supreme court. In states operating under the Missouri Plan, judges are practically always lawyers or at least law-trained to some extent, because otherwise the governor would get bad publicity during his reelection campaign for appointing untrained judges. In states that elect judges directly, there are a lot of lay judges, many of whom are not law-trained and are thus extremely incompetent. The federal government has no explicit requirement that judges must be lawyers, but as a matter of tradition, the President always nominates well-qualified lawyers. --Coolcaesar 20:18, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
In England judges may sit with lay assessors, though I have never heard of a court other than the Admirality court do so. It is relatively common in Admirality I believe, but that's not an area of my practice. Many tribunals now refer to their members as "judges" - for example in an Employment Tribunal - and 2/3 of their members will be lay members in the sense of not being lawyers, though they will have relevant experience. With the increasing uniformatisation of tribunals across England this process will continue to increase the number of lay people who sit professionally on tribunals. Francis Davey (talk) 09:43, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

also it should be noted that some states do not require that magistrates be trained in the law. The United States Supreme Court also does not require that the justices be law trained. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:36, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Last sentence[edit]

"In addition, judges although in their official capacity should and are free from bias, however a doctrine called as major premise, assumes that all judges are humans and therefore not infallible." This sentence needs re-writing, but I'm not sure what it means as it stands. Rhion 08:59, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

It means that even though judges officialy are (and should be) unbiased, that major premise doctrine says that they are still human and possibly slightly biased. --Snake712 16:46, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
You've got to be joking. They're incredibly biased. Not to mention self-righteous. 13:19, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Authority of judges[edit]

Some statements about judges in civil law judges are partly misleading, at least as far as the German legal system is concerned. There, judges do have the power to impose injunctive relief, restraining orders, and limited fines for misconduct in the courtroom. Moreover, ordinary judges can hear some cases in which the government is a party, as the definition of "public law" is narrower than stated in the text. In addition, the part of the text which deals with precedence gives a wrong impression: Although not binding, the research on and the reference to precedence is an indispensable part of daily legal practice. Furthermore, I am not quite sure what is meant by the term "making the law" in the text, but the method of analogy is accepted and common, whereby a statutory rule can be extended even to a case which is not expressly dealt with in a statute, if the law is deemed to contain an unintended lacuna. Finally, the inquisitorial procedure is mainly applicable in criminal and public law cases. In contrast, in private law cases, the judge is limited to the facts (and up to a certain extent also to the evidence) as they are presented to him by the parties. I didn't want all these specific caveats to the text itself, but it clearly seems to need a review.

Ohwilleke 06:27, 22 February 2007 (UTC) A more general introductory caveat has been added, and the definition of public law in the text has been narrowed.

Judges do not have authority. They only have power. They delude themselves into believing their system represents the will of the people, and that this gives them authority. (talk) 04:36, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

Canadian Judges - question[edit]

The reference given does not say that Canadian judges can only be removed for misconduct; it says that they can be, but is silent on whether there are other reasons (mental incompetence, incapacitating illness, etc.). Does anyone have a reference that states outright that judges can't be removed due to inability to handle the job? --Charlene 10:09, 3 February 2007 (UTC)


paragraph irrelevant to this article (also POV, unreferenced and probably jurisdiction specific

Psychiatry has the power to jail and forcably treat so this profession is relevant to the subject of judges.Political_abuses_of_psychiatry[[1]]

Judicial Appointment[edit]

It seems an important factor that is largely missing from this heavily US-centric article.-- (talk) 13:53, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Training of judges internationally[edit]

I would like to see a section on the kind of training received by judges in different countries. In the United States, it is the law that judges must first have been lawyers, trained in the same law school, where they acquire their single-minded vertical notions of justice. I believe that the UK takes a different approach, and supplies legal training quite separate and isolated from what is required of a lawyer. Has to do with freeing up the mind to rise above polarizing argument, and to think laterally. Also helps to prevent old boy "ties", and loyal surviving friendships with fellow lawyers, causing future conflicts of interest. And creates a good judge's mistrust and even a healthy contempt towards lawyers, seldom seen in the U.S (ever been in court unrepresented?). No, judges should not ever have been one of "them". JohnClarknew (talk) 02:08, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

"Your Honor"[edit]

Why does one address a judge "your honor" instead of "my honor"? It makes no sense. -Rolypolyman (talk) 05:37, 30 June 2008 (UTC)

Because it is the judge's honour that one is addressing not one's own. Francis Davey (talk) 11:46, 4 September 2008 (UTC)
It's only rhetoric anyway, designed to condition people to believe in the hierarchy and to submit to the power of the civil servant they're addressing. (talk) 02:59, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it can be said to be "designed" that way. A lot of court conventions are historical accidents rather than planned outcomes. Judges aren't really "civil servants" since they aren't part of the executive (or, generally speaking "servants" - i.e. not employed). Francis Davey (talk) 11:08, 10 October 2011 (UTC)
I doubt this is a historical accident. And even if so, it has only been maintained due to the hubristic nature of judges. (talk) 09:42, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Update the picture[edit]

Just wanted to say, shouldn't we update the picture on the article with a more recent photograph of a court of law?--Archeopteryx (talk) 03:26, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

U.S. Supreme Court[edit]

There needs to be a citation supporting the use of "justice" for the U.S. Supreme Court members. The Court does call its members that, but the Constitution only uses the term "judge" to refer to them, both in Article II & III. Is calling them justices a mistake? If so, when did people start making that constitutional mistake? The error appears to go back to the Judiciary Act of 1789. Why did Congress do that, when just two years earlier in the Constitution they called them judges?-- (talk) 10:29, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Canadian Justices[edit]

As a lawyer, I usually refer to the presiding judge as "my lord", as far as I know most of my colleges do the same. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:04, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

listing of DA as "judicial title"[edit]

District Attorney's are not judicial, they are executive. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:33, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Judicial Arrogance[edit]

I'd like a section on judges' comments at the end of court cases. Something like, "judges are renowned for making highly arrogant comments at the end of court cases, flaunting the supposed merits of their system while pretending they are the ones offering the 'different perspective' (the only, of course, different perspective to be had), and then retaliating when their victims object." It could be worded slightly differently, but the main point would be a recognition of the extreme arrogance displayed by judges when they need to feel powerful at the expense of others. You read it in the papers constantly. Judges give themselves the final words, frame what they're saying as if they're absolutely right, and flaunt their egos, then walk away satisfied, oh so satisfied while their victims are forced to sit silently and submit. (talk) 17:49, 13 December 2011 (UTC)