Some reasons why we need judges is to use their judgment. They should keep current in the trialing programs due to the many rule changes and course additions.
Evaluate as well as educate.
Example: A handler's dog is starting to act out during a section of the run so they stop on course and wait for the dog to calm down. Then proceeds. Afterwards , receiving the score sheet the handler notices a penalty for the stop and asks the judge why ?
A possible explanation the judge could give is that the handler did the right thing for their run but that other dogs did not act out , thus did not have that stop.
If it were all black and white we could let the computers do it.
Explanation: Some trials try to use the time method but alas they end up adding some type of fault method like: a tie breaking method, someone watching the horse does not break into a trot, stock missing obstacles then noting the times of the runs and the faults.
I think judges should keep two guidelines in mind. The first is the way the organization that they are working for wants their judges to judge.
Example: AKC has a rule that judges cannot expect you to do nor penalize an entrant for not doing something not required in the rule book. They have an affirmation form for the judge to sign that states they will judge by the AKC rules.
ASCA places 75% of your score on the judges opinion of how well the dog controls the stock thru the course and only 25% on actual completed work.
The second is to hope that everyone makes it possible for the judge to pass him or her.
Explanation. Many entrants have retired their run and given up a leg that they had earned by quitting because they thought their run was not going to qualify.