Professor John Hatchard is a Barrister and Professor of Law at the Buckingham Law School. He has held senior academic positions at universities in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He has served as Chief Mutual Legal Assistance Officer at the Commonwealth Secretariat and was a Senior Fellow at the British Institute for International and Comparative Law. He has published extensively in the area of criminal law, criminal justice and evidence, constitutional law and human rights, with particular reference to the Commonwealth and Anglophone Africa. He has undertaken consultancy work for a wide range of international organisations, particularly in the field of combating corruption, good governance and human rights.


In this article Professor John Hatchard addresses some of the key challenges that judges in small states face in seeking to maintain judicial independence and uphold judicial integrity. It explores their appropriate reaction to public criticism of judgments, including the extent to which judges themselves and/or members of their family should use the media to respond to such criticism. The article then considers the appropriate response of judges to media allegations of judicial corruption and impropriety and argues, in particular, against the retention of the criminal offence of scandalising the court. A highly publicised dispute between two senior judges in Lesotho then highlights the importance of judges respecting the Values of ‘Integrity’ and ‘Propriety’ set out in the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct.