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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.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, 2 January 2014


Not having been in court for a couple of weeks and with other matters on my mind I had not intended to post today but………………

On Monday morning January 6th  there will be no barristers undertaking criminal  court work.  This unprecedented action is a direct result of the Justice Ministry not taking seriously the determination of the Criminal Bar Association to show that enough is enough in government underfunding of legal aid by the salami slicing of barristers` incomes over the last fifteen years.   By the manipulation of statistics, national and international, the government has attempted to demonstrate that criminal barristers are taking an undeserved level of income from the limited pot which funds legal aid.  For years those defendants entitled to legal aid have been steadily reduced by heightening the legal hurdles before which aid is triggered ie offence outcomes must be serious enough to warrant representation irrespective of the defendants` abilities to represent themselves.  In addition the eligible income level of defendants above which representation is refused has been steadily reduced so someone on an average income is likely to be excluded from the system.   

Thus faced with embarrassing headlines in next Monday`s newspapers and T.V. news  programmes what does an embattled Justice Secretary do?   In order to protect his own hindquarters today he publishes figures on barristers` incomes so full of caveats that they are almost meaningless.  This government has been shamelessly inefficient and myopic insofar as its control of justice in all its forms is considered.  It has presided over  scandals within the privatised prison service, unnecessary election of Police and Crime Commissioners, fraudulent suppliers of prison services including tagging and offender transportation to courts, the abolition of a respected probation service, a total incompetent restructuring of interpreter services for courts, an emasculation of the Crown Prosecution Service  and those are just generalisations.  Moral within all parts of its justice empire is at an all time low.

I doff my hat to the Criminal Bar Association for its proposed actions.  Would that the Magistrates` Association considered similar action.  The destruction being imposed upon our system of justice; a system which has evolved over 800 years and was  an example to the world is being destroyed before our very eyes.  Like the proverbial omelette, the eggs of justice once broken cannot be re-assembled.  Shame on those whose actions have brought about this tragedy.

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