Thursday, December 17, 2009

What price court security?

Throughout my career I often noted with concern the almost total lack of security in family courts. Criminal courts would have some basic security, but family and other civil courts would have none at all save, latterly, for checks at the court entrance (although not even that at all courts).

An appalling story from Austria shows just what can happen when a court has inadequate security: a "jilted" husband shot and killed a court employee when he failed to find the judge who granted his wife a divorce. I know that, as with everything, it comes down to cost, but the story serves as a reminder of just how high feelings can run in family matters, and that those feelings can drive parties to the most extreme actions. Surely, some security is required in our civil courts as well as our criminal courts?


  1. John,
    You are correct in that every courtroom needs a court security officer. If a decision is being made there will be unhappy parties. Last month Germany experienced the killing of a pregnant woman in a court of law. If I may - I have just written a book - "Protecting Court: A Practitioner's Guide to Court Security" - it has received strong critical praise - across the pond. A free and unitimidated judiciary is critical to all democracies.


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