Some people do mistakenly think that judges’ working hours are confined to court sitting hours, which are normally 10.30am–4.30pm.
But the reality is very different; most judges also carry a large burden of ‘box’ work (paperwork) on current and future (and sometimes past) cases – especially as most cases are settled or concluded before they reach the stage of a court hearing. It is not unusual for judges to work late into the evening, writing judgments and reading files of evidence and letters from parties. They do not claim overtime for this.
There are four terms in the legal year, which are the main sitting times for the High Court and Court of Appeal. Most courts do have sittings around the year, and even in the High Court and Court of Appeal, emergency hearings and processing of cases continue during the vacations.
Senior judges use the ‘vacation’ periods between terms to catch up on new legislation and case law, as well as undertaking formal training.