Magistrate reprimanded and asked to quit family panel after declining case


A magistrate has been reprimanded after declining to analyse a family court case because of her personal views about same-sex parenting.

Susan Preston, who sits in magistrates courts in south Derbyshire, has been issued with a warning by judicial heads following an investigation by a watchdog.

Detail of the case has emerged in a statement issued by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO), which oversees investigations into complaints about judges.

A spokesman said the warning had been issued by Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Liz Truss and Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas.

He indicated Mrs Preston had also been asked to step down from a panel featuring magistrates assigned to oversee family court cases.

"Mrs Susan Preston JP, a magistrate assigned to the South Derbyshire Bench, has been issued with a formal warning following an investigation into her conduct," said the spokesman in the statement.

"Mrs Preston had declined to adjudicate on a case in the Family Court because of her personal views about same sex couple parenting.

"The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice considered that this amounted to misconduct and have issued Mrs Preston with a formal warning."

He added: "Mrs Preston has also been asked to stand down from the family panel with immediate effect."