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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Monday, 15 September 2014


On June 18th I posted on the topic of a parent`s duty to ensure a child`s  attendance at school; a subject which has   been around for some time.  Indeed the previous Secretary of Education Michael Gove increased the difficulty factor for those attempting to defend themselves against such charges. 

It has now been reported that a mother was effectively found not guilty by colleagues in Birmingham Magistrates` Court of taking her daughter out of school without permission.    The case against her of failing to pay a £60 fine for removing the child was dismissed.  Of course this decision does not set a precedent but I sincerely hope that it will be brought to the attention of as many as possible of my colleagues who all too often have been reluctant to go against prevailing authority in many summary matters which come before us. 


  1. As ever, we only have the newspaper report to go on and therefore we don't have the benefit of all of the facts as adduced in court.

    Still, I can't help but wonder why the mother failed to attend meetings. Apparently she did apologise for not turning up but we are not informed as to exactly why. Perhaps if she had have attended these meetings (note the plural) then maybe the matter would not have gone as far as it has.

    No doctor's note, not attending meetings to discuss, offering no evidence in support of her explanation for non-attendance of her child. It seems to be on the basis of the basic facts as reported that this mother has only herself to blame. She then compounds the issue by failing to pay the basic fine thus ensuring that it is increased later.

    Frankly speaking, I am at a loss to see the justification in dismissing the case. I am familiar with all the steps the council take to engage with the parents in these cases and this action is not taken lightly. I suspect some gullibility on the part of my Birmingham colleagues.

  2. Absolutely right Anon. The LA goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid court proceedings which really are a last resort. It does seem strange that justices dismissed this case.