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 ten years whilst I was active I retain it now only as a literary device no longer actually using the term JP for any other purpose whatsoever.

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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Sunday, 9 March 2014


When my son went to university amongst the advice I gave him was that on no condition should he open the door to a person who could possibly have been from T.V. Licensing (aka Capita plc).  This was purely precautionary because I insisted that he and his flatmates bought a T.V. license or they would forego my generosity in the provision of a free T.V. for their communal use. Such advice was based on the sometimes aired iniquitous practices of said plc when license “evaders” were giving evidence in court only to be contradicted by dubious so called “inspectors” whose evidence to say the least was often unconvincing.   So the likelihood of the end of such procedures at magistrates` courts is warmly welcomed.  To have a criminal record for non payment of a license fee to watch television was always a disgraceful use of the state`s power.

About 180,000 such people are currently  prosecuted annually.  Many of these are the poorest individuals in the country living hand to mouth and day to day.   About 70 of those found guilty are jailed for non payment of the resultant fine imposed. These T.V. license courts comprise about 10% of all cases coming before Justices of the Peace.  Their re-location to the civil courts system will lead to a further reduction in the number of courtrooms in daily operation and a consequent reduction in demand for new lay magistrates and a further diminishing in sittings for most. 

Having been a proponent for many years of this proposed change…..try typing   …… it is for once a most welcome change coming as it does from the Justice Ministry.    


  1. The BBC TV Licence goons cannot be trusted. I visit TV Licence Resistance and so many people have gone their reporting how the BBC goon lied so they ended up in court,4.0.html

  2. License? Have we moved to the USA as well?

  3. Are fixed penalties available for these in England? If so is that 180k including the fixed penalties?

  4. Don't forget that under the current system Capita pockets the costs awarded following each successful prosecution. It regards this estimated £14,000,000 p.a. as a legitimate income stream.

    Moving the licensing system from criminal to civil jurisdiction does not tackle the fundamental problems - that watching television programme service unlawfully occurs in the privacy of one's house to which the BBC and its henchmen have no right of access, that the only "evidence" of an offence having been committed is the confession of the alleged perpetrator, that the commission-earning salesmen enforcing the law profit monetarily by doing so and that the whole system can easily be defeated by the alleged perpetrator exercising his/her right to silence. On the latter point, I note that you, yourself, recognise this by advising your son to maintain his silence.

    The fact remains that a law which requires any person watching/recording television programmes when transmitted to have the State's permission to do so is either plain daft or sinister. One hopes it's the former, in which case "the law is a ass - a idiot", whether civil or criminal.

  5. Your article begs the question: what should be done about these "dubious so-called inspectors whose evidence was ... often unconvincing"?

    At TV Licence Resistance we see (and try to help) the human casualties of this system - people being prosecuted unfairly, often maliciously and with total disregard to many basic legal principles such as equality of arms or informed consent to interview.

    Whilst decriminalisation may improve matters simply by shaking things up, I too fear that the fundamental inequities are so entrenched into the TVL system, that it's possible we may even end up in a worse position.

  6. If the evidence is s Dubious and unconvincing, why are people being convicted for the supposed offence? Surely if the evidence is not convincing or concrete then the court should find against TV Licensing. As soon as you all start enforcing law appropriately your court time will be free up as this company will need to actually obtain valid evidence in order to bring people before your bench.