But it remains woefully insufficient, and further changes need to be pushed—apparently from outside—and those additional changes need to happen quickly.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said Thursday it will overhaul its in-house tribunal following months of escalating legal challenges and criticism of its increased use of its own judges.
Under the new rules, defendants will get more time to prepare: up to eight months, instead of the SEC’s “rocket docket” of pacing that suits the agency, regardless of the time actually needed to prepare. Defendants also will be able, for the first time, to get sworn testimony as part of their defense preparation.
These are crucial changes, to be sure.
The SEC still will use judges that are explicitly on the SEC payroll to hear the cases the SEC brings against defendants. The SEC still will use judges that are explicitly on the SEC payroll to hear defendants’ appeals of the SEC’s house judges’ decisions.
Absent corrections to those failings, the SEC’s “courts” will remain very much kangaroo courts.