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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Monday, 9 September 2013


What can magistrates do, outside of courtrooms, to help reduce crime and re-offending, and make communities safer?

This is the headline on a page in the members` area of the Magistrates` Association website.  This page is unavailable to the public. The headline itself is an introduction to a request for ideas or comments on ideas already submitted for the Justice Ministry to explore in depth.  To quote directly from the web page:-

"Great things already happening
The following are some of the great examples of where you are already using your knowledge and experience from the bench in your communities, to improve the criminal justice system.
  • organising mock trials to explain sentencing to the local community
  • visiting local schools to explain the legal system to young people in an innovative and exciting way
  • you play an important role in making sure the police are using out-of-court disposals correctly
What you can submit
Ideas can be as innovative as you like (they could even involve us changing the law), the only ground rules are that they must:
  • involve magistrates outside of the traditional courtroom role
  • be compatible with your core role as judicial office holders
  • (in these chastened times), not mean significant extra cost.
What we will do next
We will take the top 5 voted ideas and work with you to develop them further, either to include them in our forthcoming consultation on the role of magistrates or collate them into a best practice guide for local areas."

There are those, magistrates official spokesmen amongst them, who would look at the above as evidence of the government`s continuing commitment to the role of Justice of the Peace.  I beg to differ.  By apparently prioritising our position outside its natural habitat; the courtroom, it appears to be preparing the way for us to be removed from that habitat and to be induced to accept a position as functionaries wholly involved in an environment distanced from those very courtrooms where we currently preside inter alia over procedures, management, trials and sentencing.  We are judicial  turkeys being prepared for Christmas by being offered tasty distractions to peck at whilst preparations are being made to wring our judicial necks.  

If I were female I would sign off this post as Cassandra.  Since I`m not how about Jeremiah?

1 comment:

  1. Astonishing (but I suppose,consistent with past behaviour) that the MA colludes and actually encourages this move.