Post-16 visit from Her Honour Judge Vanessa Francis

On Tuesday of this week, our A-level Sociology and Politics students were privileged to take part in a very successful virtual visit from Her Honour Judge Vanessa Francis – who was appointed to her current role by the Queen, in April 2019.

The students were really engaged in the session, throughout the full hour, and came up with some brilliant questions such as:


How are judges appointed? How were you appointed?

Do you think this is a fair system (are there too many men/public school judges?)

What are you most memorable/interesting cases that you have presided over?

In the Politics syllabus we look at whether judges in the UK have become too “political”, especially since the Human Rights Act became part of UK law in 1998. Do you have a view on that, please?


In terms of the demographic of criminals, which categories of offender do you deal with most e.g. gender, ethnicity, class, age, etc…

What are your views on the effectiveness of prison as a punishment in the UK?  Should we be taking a different approach to punishment/prison, like countries such as Norway?

Do you feel that male /female offenders are treated differently within the CJS?

How do you feel crime could be reduced?

Have you witnessed an increase in any particular types of crime?

There was also a great deal of interest and follow-up on the impact of drill music, gang violence and the increase in young female offenders.

We very much appreciate HH Judge Francis giving us her time and valuable insights into her work within the criminal justice system – and were very proud of the level of attentiveness and maturity shown by our students.

Mrs Brotherton

19th January 2021

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