JO's complaint procedures & number of times the JO has acted as a judge's secretarial assistant and breached Data Privacy rights?
Dear Judicial Office for England and Wales,
1) When did the Judicial Office decide complaints about JO officials could only be made by post, not using an online form or via a JO email address?
2) How many times, in the last 2 years, has the Judicial Office agreed to act as Chamber President Judge Mrs Justice Farbey's secretarial assistant?
3) How many times in the last 2 years has the Judicial Office breached a member of the public’s Data Privacy rights without any legal justification for that breach?
1) It seems strange that in a time when Covid has been – and still is - a real threat to human life, that the Judicial Office only provides a postal address, not an online form or email address for a member of the public to make a complaint about them. This discriminates against the elderly and vulnerable (like myself) who are forced to leave their home, buy notepaper, envelopes, and a stamp and then make another trip to find a post box to post the complaint. I know of no other organisation that forces a complainant to send a complaint by post.
2) I know for a fact that on AT LEAST one occasion, the JO has agreed to act as Chamber President Judge Mrs Justice Farbey’s secretarial assistant during the period 9 December 2020 to the 29 December 2020. I know this because Christopher Dyton, a senior lawyer for the GLD emailed me on the 29 December 2020 to say he’d been ‘instructed’ by the Judicial Office to warn me of the danger of defying a ban on my publishing online a letter sent to me by Judge Farbey on the 15 April 2020 as I’d ‘proposed’ to do. This was, in fact, a lie but I assume the Judicial Office had only instructed Dyton to convey a message from Judge Farbey that she did not give her permission to publish online the 15 April letter.
If the Judicial office asked the GLD to do anything other than convey Judge Farbey’s refusing permission for me to publish the 15 April letter, they were acting illegally and I will be contacting my local MP, Theresa May and the Minister of Justice to address this very disturbing matter.
As I say, I can’t think this will arise because a Ministry of Justice department would surely never act illegally. It still raises the question of why the JO should fail to adhere to the ‘separation of powers’ and having done that, not themselves act as the secretarial assistant since the GLD would charge them for acting on their behalf which would mean extra, unnecessary cost for the tax payer. And I want to know how many other times the JO has agreed to act as Farbey’s secretarial assistant. Was it a one-off or has it happened on other occasions?
3) How many times in the last 2 years has the Judicial Office breached the Data Privacy rights of a member of the public? I know for a fact this has happened on one occasion because it’s clear from email evidence that the JO allowed Mr Dyton and Mel Nebranjani, GLD Director of Litigation, to read the 15 April 2020 letter which was a letter to me from Judge Farbey, a letter containing personal information. This was a clear breach of my Data Privacy rights, there was no legal case involved.
Dear Judicial Private Offices FOI,
Dear Judicial Office
In response to my question 1)
When did the Judicial office decide complaints about JO officials could only be made by post, not using an online form or via a JO email address?
you say 'there is no formal policy on the method of delivery for complaints made about JO Officials'. Perhaps I put the question ineptly - in which case, can I ask you to assist me in putting it better (you are obliged to assist FOI Requesters who might struggle to formulate their questions precisely).
Is the JO seriously telling me they have no complaints procedure to which they can refer members of the public who wish to make a complaint about them? I assumed you’d refer me to a website where your complaints procedure would be outlined, and that this website would provide a phone number or email address or online form for making a complaint. Do you, in fact, have a complaints procedure and information about an email addresses or online forms for making a complaint?
Or can one only make a complaint by writing to your address – thereby running the risks I outlined in the ‘Background’ section of my FOI Request to you? You claim there ‘is no policy on the method of delivery for complaints.’ It’s a claim I find very difficult to believe, especially since Susanna McGibbon, the Treasury Solicitor, and Head of the GLD, assured me otherwise. The GLD is, of course, the department of lawyers you paid (with tax payers’ money) to carry out secretarial duties on behalf of Chamber President Judge Mrs Justice Farbey DBE.
The Treasury Solicitor informed me if I wanted to make a complaint about the JO, it HAD to be in writing, sent to your address. This contradicts what you have said in an FOI Response. Is it you or the Treasury Solicitor who has provided me with false information?
2) Your response to the 2nd question: ‘How many times in the last 2 years has the Judicial office agreed to act as Chamber President Judge Mrs Justice Farbey’s secretarial assistant’ was very vague: ‘it’s not untoward for the Judicial Office to assist with some of the administrative functions associated with their role.’ I had specified ‘secretarial assistance’: Mrs Justice Farbey DBE was asked twice whether she would grant permission for me to publish online a letter she’d sent me on 15 April 2020 (the letter was a response to a request I’d made for an extension of time in which to complain about a Tribunal judge). I asked twice and there was no reply. I wrote to Mrs Farbey and said if she had not responded within a 40 day period I would assume she had no objection, and go ahead and publish the letter.
At some time before the expiry of the 40 day period, Mrs Farbey contacted the Judicial Office to act as her secretarial assistant and pass on the message that she refused permission. It appears Mrs Justice Farbey was either too lazy or too indifferent to email me, saying ‘No, Mr Jones, you do not have permission to publish.’ Of course, Mrs Justice Farbey has a very efficient PA, Elizabeth Portas. It seems she couldn’t even be bothered to ask Ms Portas to reply on her behalf.
She decided to go to the JO and ask them to convey her answer. In doing so, she violated the Judges’ Code of Conduct by failing to observe the ‘separation of powers.’ And the JO is guilty of colluding in that violation.
The JO appears to have thought being Farbey’s messenger was too demanding a task for them, and asked the GLD if they could convey the message that the judge refused permission. The JO has to use tax payers’ money to employ the GLD legal team but it seems that didn’t bother them.
I think the general public will be very concerned at this waste of public money – and all because of a Judge’s laziness, and the JO’s willingness to ‘assist’ the Judge with what they coyly describe as ‘administrative functions.’
Is this really such a ‘common’ procedure that the JO feels it’s not necessary to keep a record of it? Do they regularly waste tax payers’ money in this way? And can they justify not only this waste of public money but their collusion in this violation of the ‘separation of powers’?
Finally in response to my 3rd question, you say you have no record of breaching a member of the public’s Data Privacy rights in the last 3 years. Do you seriously expect me to believe this? In the spring of 2021, you allowed - with Judge Farbey’s connivance – Christopher Dyton (senior GLD lawyer) and Mel Nebranjani (GLD Director of Litigation) access to the 15 April 2020 letter that Farbey had sent to me. That letter contained a great deal of personal information about me. The Judicial Office – along with Judge Farbey and GLD lawyers - breached the law.
The Treasury Solicitor justified this breach on the grounds that Mr Dyton [and Mel Nebranjani] was ‘entitled to review documents provided to him by his client in the course of seeking legal advice’. Unfortunately, the Treasury Solicitor was stating something she knew to be false. There was no ‘legal advice’ to be sought because there was no legal case. Unless Mr Dyton was acting unlawfully, his job was merely to say that Judge Farbey refused permission for me to publish her letter.
The Treasury Solicitor will adopt any measure to protect her own lawyers and her client, in this case, the Judicial Office. Her law department proudly boasts: ‘we don’t just interpret the law, we re-imagine it and pilot it through areas it’s never been before’.
The Treasury Solicitor has here ‘re-imagined’ a legal case that never existed.
In the light of this information, can I ask you to resubmit your response to the number of times you have breached Data Privacy rights in the last 3 years. You clearly are guilty of this on at least one occasion.
Important information: this mailbox is not monitored. Freedom of
Information requests should be sent to [The Judicial Office request email].
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