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.





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Thursday, 12 September 2013

WEASELS OF WHITEHALL



As if there were not enough writing on the wall to warn us that the days of magistrates  in court  are numbered Lord High Executioner Grayling could not have made his intentions any clearer in his recent speech at the National Bench Chairs Forum; an organisation which is a total waste of time and effort.  It is not representative of J.P.s and is just a talking shop.  It effectively has  divided magistrates whose primary representative organisation, the Magistrates` Association, has allowed itself to be out thought and  out manoeuvred by the weasels of Whitehall whose long term plan is to have us removed from our position in the magistrates` courts.   

Magistrates in buildings where there are no longer remand, breach or sentencing courts; those now having dedicated venues, spend at least half an hour per three hour sitting on down time if averaged out over a few months if my typical court is anything to go by.  And that means there is slack in the system…..we all know why but that`s not for today.   

It’s utterly absurd that three magistrates should spend their time rubber-stamping foregone conclusions in simple road traffic cases.’  Thus spake Grayling.  So in those traffic courts where it is not uncommon for a bench to discover improper procedures or errors of one sort or another two J.P.s will be superfluous whilst the third sits in an office.  That`s enough to get rid of two thousand of us.  Next stop will be T.V. license courts where 3,500 prosecutions are brought weekly.  As sure as night follows day we will be told that these also require only a single magistrate to rubber stamp the decision.  That`s reason enough to sack or allow age related natural wastage to dispense with another three thousand magistrates.  He was quoted also as stating that, “that with a falling number of cases coming before the courts there needs to be ‘smart’ ways of deploying them”.  It cannot be more plain even for the chairman of the M.A. who refuses to believe what is staring him in the face that the long term for J.P.s will involve mainly non court activities.  There might be the solace of sitting as wingers to District Judges(MC) in trial courts for those newly appointed J.P.s  who would know no better. Combined with  natural wastage of  a relatively old cohort of current magistrates   mass resignations which would inevitably follow would fit tidily with the change over to a fully professional judiciary in the lower courts; a judiciary beholden to government and owing to its age and background less financially independent of government decree that the current senior judiciary. Of course that is exactly what government wishes to see happen.  The directions to DJs  and sentencing results after the August riots of 2011 are proof of that.

The weasels of Whitehall are on game and set; only the match remains to be won.

4 comments:

  1. How can this be "Open Justice?"

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  2. why?? it's not like you guys are paid, although courts cost money to run I guess. this is very worrying

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  3. Worth bearing in mind that elsewhere in the UK, JP's manage fine on their own for minor matters such as most road traffic, breach of the peace, TV license stuff etc. Its not seen as rubber stamping - rather that the decision doesn't really need 3 people.

    I'm not convinced that you lot really are on your way out... ...but perhaps if you resists change enough they might have a motivation.

    Are Mags more expensive than DJ's. How can they be?
    Are DJ's more controllable? But then the government will be directly to blame when the public don't like sentences etc.

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  4. The Guberment have realised that the game is up when it comes to statute law. Too many people (for their liking!) are challenging the system, particularly in regard to 'Jurisdiction'. Many have come to learn the fact that all Acts & Statutes are merely 'contractual'.

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