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, 26 June 2014


This blog seems to be becoming repetitive. However when the same story is repeated virtually every time one steps into the courtroom what else can one do but relate the story. I have no reason whatever to think that the experiences at my court are in any way different from courts all over England and Wales serving a suburban ethnically mixed population. We are being encouraged to take charge of the case management form at the first listing.......oops..... it`s now termed the pre trial form......Don`t those w****** in Petty France have anything else to do with their time than rename forms or procedures? But to get back to basics; I have no objection at all to magistrates taking greater responsibility for what goes on in the courts that still bear their name; indeed I am a proponent of just such actions but I am wary when or if we are being set up to take the fall if things go wrong. When it comes to the time estimates which now must be listed for every witness it seems that the reasoning is to have a foundation which justifies over listing. Generally, however, the L/A suggests the required time to allocate. If a defendant is unable to confirm that s/he will be represented there is IMHO not enough additional time allocated. If s/he requires an interpreter the additional time is often underestimated.

My last sitting was completely in disarray owing to statutory declarations keeping us occupied from 9.45a.m. until 10.40a.m. followed by an unrepresented defendant applying for an adjournment in a case with a history of previous gaps in chronology. The result was that the first of our two trials listed was not completed until 1.30 p.m. and the other was necessarily re listed for September two police officers, a complainant and a defendant having to suffer a wasted morning.

It is well known that NHS hospital beds are running at around 98% occupancy cf the 80%+ in many European countries. Some call this efficiency. But this “efficiency” is akin to running your petrol tank to the flashing light before filling up. If things go wrong one can be stranded out of gas in a country road at midnight. In due course the statistics of wasted, cracked and ineffective trials will be published and a gloss painted over them. Ask those actually involved and the responses will not be fit to to be published except by a series of expletives.


  1. Apropos your observation of the NHS bed occupancy compared to that of other parts of Europe and of course the running of the Justice system, it's what you get when the accountants are put in charge...

    1. Quite - and unfortunately accountants don't understand that you cannot run such services at such high utilization without problems; neither the courts nor the NHS are factories no matter what the "civil" service think.