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PAJE 08 Resilience Dealing with Stress

PAJE 08 Resilience Dealing with Stress


Judges must sometimes deal with difficult and stressful situations, it is part of the job. There is welfare and resilience support available to assist judges. Like many other important and demanding roles, being a judge of course offers its fair share of stresses and judges experience difficult cases they experience having to deal with difficult litigants at times in front of them and sometimes they’re working in a situation with very distressing material in front of them but. But despite that don’t let that put you off because a recent survey of judicial attitudes found that almost all judges said that what they really felt was they were contributing something very valuable to society and almost all of the judges as well said that they felt a strong sense of personal attachment to the judiciary as a whole so a sense of belonging I suppose to the judiciary. And one of the things that has really changed in recent years is that this is being talked about the stresses are being talked about directly and we are very much helped as judges to build resilience so to build up the skills that we need to deal with those stresses on a daily basis and to ensure that we’re not responding to them in an unhealthy way. Being a judge can be an immensely rewarding and satisfying role. But undoubtedly it is a role that can carry some stresses and strains, because of significant workload pressure of time perhaps a particularly difficult unpleasant or problematic case or a difficult or troubling individual before the court but judges are not left to struggle alone when they are suffering from stresses and strains there are materials available to help them on the judicial intranet the private internet available to all judicial office holders there are materials available to help. There is some digital learning and guidance available including podcasts and some short films and materials to help those judges who wish to pursue mindfulness as a way of helping them overcome stress and resilience issues. Judges also have access to leadership judges who can offer guidance and support and some judges particularly fee paid judges have the benefit of mentors who can help them with issues, particularly in relation to workload and the stresses and strains associated with that. There’s now an enhanced welfare program which aims to really support judges particularly when they’re dealing with a diet of traumatic cases. And so within that welfare program there are psychologists available to talk to judges when they need to do that there are telephone support lines and there’s also a program of online support available for judges to access at any time. So as a Coroner it’s very important that I have good relationships with my colleagues across the jurisdiction, because sometimes I don’t always have the answer and I may need to discuss a particular issue with a colleague or an approach and consider views from others and it’s a small network but we’re very committed in supporting each other particularly those who are new to the job and even those who have been in post for some time that we’re able to discuss what our issues and concerns are. Being a fee paid judge is actually the least stressful part of my working life, and I think that’s for a number of reasons. One is that we’re actually fantastically well trained before we start the job as a fee page judge. The second part of it is that the work that we do is really well curated by others, so that we’re not immediately launched into hugely complex cases without much experience. We are gradually put into situations where we’re dealing with at first very simple cases and then increasingly difficult cases as we become more experienced in the jurisdiction. And the third reason is that although ultimately your decisions are yours and you are making them on your own, there really is a fantastic sense of camaraderie there’s always some to go and talk to if you’re feeling unconfident about something and that sense of being supported really takes away the stresses of the job. [Music]

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