Judge retires after 20 years on bench
Last updated at 16:39, Tuesday, 06 November 2012
A SOUTH Cumbrian judge who championed improved legal rights for society’s most vulnerable has retired after 20 distinguished years on the bench.
Judges and solicitors travelled from across the region to honour district judge Gordon Ashton OBE when he sat for the final time at Kendal County Court last Wednesday.
The judge, who grew up in Barrow, is also known for his writing on the law and mentally disabled and elderly people.
His passion for these specific aspects of law developed when his son Paul, who died in 2004, was born with severe learning disabilities. He said: “We had a seriously learning-disabled son and because of his problems and me being a lawyer, I wrote my first book about 20 years ago called Mental Handicap and the Law, which was fairly groundbreaking then. Since then I’ve written about six or eight other books.”
Judge Ashton, who lives in Grange with his wife Marion, said he had found the legal system unsympathetic towards people who could not make their own decisions and set about changing attitudes.
He said: “I was instrumental in the formation of a body of solicitors called Solicitors for the Elderly and there’s now about 1,500 members.
“I’ve also campaigned for change and I’ve ended up training judges on how to recognise disabilities and how to make reasonable adjustments.”
Judge Ashton left Barrow to study law at Manchester University before working in Grange as a solicitor for 28 years.
In 1992, he became a district judge and was based predominantly in Preston until four years ago when he scaled back to three days a week in Barrow, Kendal and Penrith.
From 2005 he has been a visiting professor at the School of Law in Northumbria University and one of his greatest achievements came in 2006 when he was instrumental in getting the Court of Protection’s jurisdiction recast to allow it to sit outside of London for the first time.
Judge Ashton’s career was crowned in 2010 with an OBE for services to the administration of justice and to disabled people.
While he might have retired from the bench, Judge Ashton will continue making a contribution to the legal system through his writing, advocacy and training of overseas judges. But for the timebeing at least he wants to devote more time to his wife, two daughters and grandchildren, as well as his garden and classic cars.
First published at 16:34, Monday, 05 November 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
More Grange news
- Officials take advice on range of ideas for Grange historic lido
- SLIDESHOW: Cartmel family race proves a winning formula
- South Cumbria school praised for helping children feel right at home
- SLIDESHOW: Sun shines on Cartmel racegoers as bank holiday meeting starts
- Grange woman who fraudulently claimed benefits in court (2 comments)
- Barrow, South Lakes and Copeland voters share their views
- Puddles the Cumbria otter cub travels to specialist hospital in Scotland
- Good Samaritan tells of impact of Grange drunk’s attack
- South Lakes housing estate plan approved
- Store owner appeals to public after £25,000 jewellery heist
- Grange man accused of grooming girl for sex
- Loved ones remembered at Cumbria service
- New Grange estate proposal branded ‘vandalism of a public view’
- Cumbria sex offender pensioner due in court today charged with loitering near children's play area
- Cumbria fly-tipper admits dumping his old sofa
- High winds close outdoor exhibition in South Cumbria
- Cartmel Races - Betfair Barbecue Day 2014
- Cartmel Races - Totepool Cumbria Crystal Hurdle Day 2014
- Two race horses perish at Cartmel races in South Cumbria (16 comments)
- Consultation begins on £1.4m South Cumbria homes proposal (1 comment)
- Cartmel Vintage Race Night
- Barrow bakery has recipe for success
- Car stolen in South Cumbria
- Barrow and Grange venues for summer street gallery exhibition
- Cumbria chef Simon Rogan wins another accolade
Evening Mail homepage
ENERGY FOR LIFE 5.1k WALNEY FAMILY FUN RUN
Did you enjoy the Energy For Life 5.1k Walney Family Fun Run?
• Click here to pledge to take part in next year's event on September 2, 2012
- GP warns Barrow children may not live as long as their parents (6 comments)
- Barrow man with axe jailed
- Shoplifter, 23, fined
- Three charged with false imprisonment and possession of fake firearm
- Court round-up
- News round-up
- Pupils plant seeds of expectation
- Ex-pupils return to school to raise apprenticeship profile
- Man pleads not guilty to assault
- Denby confident lido listed status can be overturned (7 comments)
F. Dickinson footwear
Homes and gardens 22