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joint meeting lecture MIT Sloan

28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: ‘The view from the Bench’ – joint with MIT Sloan alumni

‘The view from the Bench’

His Honour Witold Pawlak (Trinity 1966) will speak to us about his experience as Circuit Judge at Wood Green Crown Court (appointed 2004)

On Thursday 28 November 2019 at 7pm His Honour Witold Pawlak will visit us from the UK, and will talk to us about his unique insights into how justice works in the UK: “The view from the Bench”. Location: in central Tokyo.

And as a special guest Professor Andrea Frilling, Chair in Endocrine Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery, Imperial College, London.

This event will be joint with MIT Sloan alumni.

  • 7pm – 7:30pm His Honour Witold Pawlak, ‘The view from the Bench’
  • 7:30pm – 9:30pm dinner
  • after 9:30pm – nijikai drinks nearby

The fee including kaiseki dinner and unlimited drinks will be YEN 10,000, nijikai drinks etc are separate. We will meet in central Tokyo.

All Fellows or members of Trinity College (Cambridge University) living in or visiting Tokyo are very welcome.

Registration and prepayment until Friday 22 November 2019. I will send location details and account details for prepayment to those who register.

Usually we go for nijikai nearby.

“The view from the Bench” – His Honour Witold Pawlak

Summary of Judge Pawlak’s talk by Gerhard Fasol

Hierarchy and “Judgeitis” (judges’ disease). Courts have a hierarchy with the Judge at the top seated in his or her gown on an elevated dais. Judges are revered and honoured at the court house from morning to night. This respect for judges is for justice, not for the judge as a person.

Lord Hailsham (Quintin Hogg, Baron Hailsham of St Marylebone) in 1978 is said to have spoken about judgeitis, or judges’ disease, the symptoms to include “pomposity, irritability, talkativeness, proneness to obiter dicta [statements not necessary for the decision in the case], a tendency to take short-cuts”. Judge Pawlak gave us a few examples, and thinks that it is one of the roles of barristers to stand up to judges in court.

Barristers who win the trust of the judge have a much better chance to win their case. Barristers need to win the trust of judges both during the particular case, as well as long-term via their track record.

Today judges in the UK are following sentencing guidelines, which are guidelines, not tram lines, deviation in judgements from these guidelines must be justified in each case.

The current situation in the UK is that crime has risen strongly in recent years (from 4.5 million cases to 6 million cases per year over the last few years), while the number of suspects facing justice and the number of prosecutions has decreased because of a decrease in funding for the court and prosecution systems. Average prison sentences are now highest in the past 10 years, and have increased from an average 13.5 months in June 2009 to 17.4 months in 2019. The court system is subject to political priorities.

Judges need to acquire “tickets” by attending training conferences for specialization in special areas. As an example, Judge Pawlak has trained for a “sex ticket” to be qualified to judge sexual crime cases.

Judges have to “steel their hearts” to make judgements based on justice not emotion.

His Honour Witold Pawlak

Trinity 1966. Called to the Bar in 1970. Practised in contract, tort, environmental, family, financial services and other areas. Memorable cases include re Schwitters (Hospital Patient), Spring v Guardian Assurance and Rv Hertfordshire County Council ex parte Green Environmental. Appointed Circuit Judge 2004 until 2017 at Wood Green Crown Court, thereafter a Deputy Circuit Judge until April 2020. Training in mediation for mediators in Poland for 10 years. Currently working on the EU Modern Court project in Ukraine.

28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: 'The view from the Bench' - joint with MIT Sloan alumni
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: ‘The view from the Bench’ – joint with MIT Sloan alumni
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: 'The view from the Bench' - joint with MIT Sloan alumni
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: ‘The view from the Bench’ – joint with MIT Sloan alumni
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: 'The view from the Bench' - joint with MIT Sloan alumni
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: ‘The view from the Bench’ – joint with MIT Sloan alumni
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: 'The view from the Bench' - joint with MIT Sloan alumni
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: ‘The view from the Bench’ – joint with MIT Sloan alumni
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: 'The view from the Bench'
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: ‘The view from the Bench’
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: 'The view from the Bench'
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: ‘The view from the Bench’
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: 'The view from the Bench'
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: ‘The view from the Bench’
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: 'The view from the Bench'
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: ‘The view from the Bench’
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: 'The view from the Bench'
28 November 2019, His Honour Witold Pawlak, Circuit Judge: ‘The view from the Bench’

To register

If you are Trinity College Cambridge Fellow or member living in or visiting Japan please join us. To register, or for any enquiries contact us here:

His Honour Witold Pawlak
His Honour Witold Pawlak

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