Not Saussure

November 8, 2006

Blind Justice

Filed under: Law — notsaussure @ 7:34 pm

Very good piece in Five Chinese Crackers about the tabloid coverage of Shabnam Mughal, who got into trouble with George Glossop, an immigration judge (or ‘immigration adjudicator’, as he would have been called until recently), for wearing a veil in court — which, as FCC notes, the Telegraph tells us she’s been doing for the last couple of years without anyone complaining until now.

Immigration judge Glossop seems to have problems with his hearing; he apparently

asked Miss Mughal on Monday if she would “kindly remove her veil to assist with communication”. He told her: “It will allow me to see your face and I cannot hear you as well as I would like.”

Since his hearing problems clearly cause him difficulties not encountered by other tribunals before which Miss Mughal appears, possibly he could be assigned demanding work than hearing cases (or supplied with a hearing aid, of course). I’m all in favour of disability rights, of course, but keeping somone on in a role that clearly causes him such difficulties is, surely, an example of political correctness gone mad.  And we can’t be having with that, can we?


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2 Comments »

  1. My Bench Chairman tells me that the London Chairmen have asked for urgent guidance from the higher judiciary. Apparently the Judicial Studies Board are looking into it, but that could tak a long time.

    Comment by Bystander — November 9, 2006 @ 9:22 pm

  2. Is it much of an issue in London, Bystander? My initial reaction is that if the litigant/defendant isn’t bothered about his legal representative wearing a veil, then I don’t see why the court should be concerned.
    Since Immigration Judge Glossop clearly has hearing difficulties, I’d have thought it would be simplest just to ask her to speak up or, if that doesn’t suffice since he needs to lip-read, to disqualify himself from hearing the application on medical grounds.

    But I’m not a judge, of course — would you and your fellow magistrates find it a problem? I can see that a jury might, but is it a cause for concern for the bench?

    Comment by notsaussure — November 9, 2006 @ 10:00 pm


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