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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Tuesday, 26 November 2013


Sitting in the middle chair at a remand, breach or sentencing court is becoming an increasingly rare event for my colleagues and me owing to the closure of courts, ever rising numbers of District Judges(MC) and reducing figures  of offenders brought to court.  It was therefore refreshing of late to find that, quite like never forgetting how to ride a bike, everything returns in a  minute or two after the usher announces, “Your first case your worship is………..”

A full sitting`s list had two items which stand out; we exercised our powers to the maximum to sentence an offender to two consecutive terms of  six months notwithstanding his guilty pleas  his “reward” for which was not sending him to the crown court for sentencing.  The other was a pre charge application to vary bail conditions.  During the hearing we were informed that the lady in question {from outside the Hague Convention Area}  had mentioned in passing to a police officer that  she would be unlikely to return to England if her passport which had been retained were returned to her.  Since her lawyer made no challenge to this part of a conversation noted by the officer at the time she will be spending the next few weeks where she will need hat, gloves, coat and scarf  and not a bikini. 

It will be well into next year before I once again ride my bike.  I detect that more and more of my colleagues are coming round to my point of view that our days in court are numbered.  It`s the end of the road for J.P.s.


  1. It is indeed, and long foretold by a few of us (including yourself) and ignored by the MA and those who bleat incessantly of the importance of trial by ones peers. However, a small (very small) bit of good news. I hear that JPs in one courthouse at least have been asked to sit more frequently in order to save the expense of using Deputy DJs(MC).!!

  2. On that last quote HMCTS is now bound to give pensions etc to these DDJs therefore making more expensive. I agree with JP Blog and have been saying this for last 10 years or so - few listen. I have now left the bench as I am so disenchanted.