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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


IDEOLOGY: a system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy

Some of the greatest crimes in history have been based on “ideology”. This government and in particular its Ministry of Justice seems to be driven by ideology, an ideology that “private good; public bad” is a mantra for the benefit of all of us as citizens.

For some time now it has been the police officer replaced by umpteen uniformed and non uniformed quasi officials on our streets. Then it was the prisons run by the likes of SERCO. Currently the Probation Service is being brought to ruin. It has now been decided that our civil courts should be run at or for a profit. Policy Exchange, a think tank for which I have had some respect in the past, seeks to justify this policy. Quoting from its website , “it (the state) looks at every other service that the state provides and seeks to maximise its value for the taxpayer”. It would appear that the writer appears to be "The cynic (who) knows the price of everything and the value of nothing," [Oscar Wilde].

I have had recent experience of using the county court as an ordinary person disputing payments to a contractor. In addition to the arbitrariness of a single judge, fees to appeal a judgement are at such a level to dissuade all but the most single minded from further action. I have probably bored some readers by insisting that of all services provided by government only defence of the realm and a justice system cannot be undertaken by “private enterprise” and must be funded by the state. They are both public services upon which everything else depends. This latest turn of events has greatly disturbed me and should lead to a public outcry by senior legal figures now and not be a chapter in their memoirs. The judiciary and the executive are rightly two separate pillars of our society but sometimes, just sometimes, there has to be a clear authoritative knowledgeable voice to condemn totally the actions of those who are our representatives; not those who would use the subject as another political football. I hope at leisure and  I listen in vain.


  1. I didn't hear an "outcry by senior legal figures" when county courts were closed, when legal advisers and justices' clerks became civil servants and subject to political will, when the lower courts' sentencing discretion became severely limited, when alcohol and betting & gaming licensing was removed from local courts, when more and more summary cases were dealt with by a single judge, when legal aid was to be drastically cut back...oh, sorry. Yes there was in the last case.