The Venice Commission report remarks about our proliferation of tribunals presided by quasi-judges that have the power to decide but are casual about the obligations of impartiality incumbent on judges.
Here’s one. Harold Walls presides over an Industrial Tribunal. And he stretches his mental faculties on Facebook.
This wasn’t some academic exercise. It is a proper fandom. For all I know Harold Walls is completely balanced in his judgements and does not allow his childish enthusiasm for his political party to cloud his insight.
For all I know Harold Walls can be completely objective when deciding between employers and the employed. But how confident in his fairness can employers be when on his Facebook wall he marches to tunes demanding their abolition?
In all sincerity my argument would be the same if he sang to tunes written as a soundtrack to Leni Riefenstahl propaganda movies. It’s not that he has an ideological frame of mind that is objectionable. It’s that he carries it with him and flaunts it even as he sits in judgement, trusted like a judge, with the full force of the law.
How can we have any confidence in the rule of law when judges pop on Facebook like chairmen of Stalinist show trials?
True, our rules are weak and need updating. But this is already against the rules. Harold Walls knows he can just laugh this off. He’s waving a red flag.