In Nathan Roberts v Leicester Crown Court [2020] EWHC 1783 (Admin), a circuit judge due to be trying a defendant’s case with lay justices had made remarks to his counsel during preliminary legal argument such as ‘Would you really be putting that in cross-examination?’‘Do you really expect us to believe that?’, and ‘However ludicrous a defence might seem – and I’m not prejudging – somebody has a right to put it before a court’.

The defendant sought judicial review of the judge’s refusal to recuse himself, and a related ruling concerning hearsay. Having not appeared in the hearing below, Alex succeeded in resisting the claim in the High Court, instructed on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The hearing was procedurally noteworthy as it was one of the first of its kind to be conducted entirely by Skype, shortly after the ‘lockdown’ began.


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