Now that I am retired having been many years a magistrate with a long awareness of the declining freedoms enjoyed by the ordinary citizen and a corresponding fear of the big brother state`s ever increasing encroachment on civil liberties I hope that my personal observations within these general parameters will be of interest to those with an open mind. Having been blogging with this title for many years against the rules of the Ministry of Justice my new found freedom should allow me to be less inhibited in these observations.
Comments are usually moderated. However, I do not accept any legal responsibility for the content of any comment. If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.
Friday, 19 July 2019
Insert "Richard Page" into the search box and you will find a history of one of the most controversial sackings of a Justice of the Peace in living memory. The posts, the most recent of which was earlier this year on January 7th, need no explanation; they speak for themselves. It seems the final chapter of this story has been written. An employment appeal tribunal has ruled that he was rightly dismissed. Readers will have their own opinion on the decision made earlier this week.
The above was the first paragraph of my post last month on June 21st. Another case of interest is the recent successful appeal by a Christian student expelled from his university. The two cases of course are quite different but paradoxically similar in many ways. I posted on this topic on 5th October 2017.
Religious belief, Christian, Muslim and Jewish has seemed to be more in the legal news than in previous years. Considering that this is ostensibly a passive Christian country and that the Jewish population is only 250K it is not unlikely that with about three million Muslims in the UK many of whom are sympathetic to a strict interpretation of Islam it will be from that area that future legal and social conflict with religion will arise.
Wednesday, 17 July 2019
Friday, 12 July 2019
There`s a growing trend from some quarters that above every other requirement the magistracy must be as diverse as the population it serves. I disagree. Justices of the Peace must be selected on perceived ability to do the task for which they have applied. If that procedure produces anomalies cf diversity statistics then it is regrettable but must not lead to selection by quota. Latest such statistics are below.
Tuesday, 9 July 2019
The result of the above and more is that British society, at one time a concept familiar to all, is now so fragmented that the petrol of Brexit, itself a result of supine stupidity by governments since the ill fated Gordon Brown occupied number 10, has lit the fire under our whole idea of democracy. With justice denied to so many by so few our headlong dive into a dark future seems unstoppable. The scandal of the appointment of our next prime minister, the undeniable antisemitism within her Majesty`s Loyal Opposition and many of its supporters and the demagoguery of competing interests here and abroad paint a non too rosy future.
Friday, 5 July 2019
The statistics below would not reflect that situation. Courts are afraid to even think the term "robust". All manner of means are employed to reduce costs even when justice itself is at risk but when it comes to the treatment of offenders truly the softest of touches is not soft enough for some at all levels from Petty France to what was once upon a time your local court but now is your regional magistrates court.
Wednesday, 3 July 2019
Friday, 28 June 2019
Monday, 24 June 2019
Friday, 21 June 2019
Tuesday, 18 June 2019
Our justice system of which I as a new magistrate twenty or so years ago was so proud is now but a historical footnote. But all these newly appointed magistrates are unaware of that history. They are represented not by elected colleagues (the Magistrates Association is but a figleaf) but by government appointed lackeys and are known as national magistrates. Where will this salami slicing end? The apologists for all the above and more will say that as a result we will have a streamlined system where justice is done to all. The Jeremiah in me overcomes my natural optimism to conclude that on one side with a government more incompetent than any in my lifetime, a parliament stuffed with self seekers whose main task is re-election and an opposition led by an antisemitic communist pied piper calling out a tune to dash our country on the rocks morally, defensively and economically, the prospects for our justice system are very poor. But I forget; our civil courts at the highest level will still be targeted by unconvicted unscrupulous billionaires and their legal henchmen when their profits and/or their wives are failing.
Tuesday, 11 June 2019
The number of sessions sat in magistrates’ courts in England in the calendar year 2018 was 208,711. We don’t count days sat in the magistrates’ court and instead count sessions. A session is usually half a day in length.
A Freedom of Information request as to how these sessions were allocated to magistrates or District Judges(MC) was unable to be answered. " I can confirm that MOJ holds some of the information you have requested. However, to provide as the request currently stands would exceed the cost limit set out in the FOIA. Section 12(2) of the FOIA means public authorities are not obliged to comply with a request for information if it estimates the cost of complying would exceed the appropriate limit. The appropriate limit for central government it is set at £600. This represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3.5 working days determining whether the department holds the information."
Perhaps a number crunching reader can offer some insight into the significance or other wise of these figures bearing in mind my post of April 24th.