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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Monday, 13 October 2014

JEREMIAH J.P.



Once again the best brains at HMCTS seem to be trying to stand up straight with their knickers rather twisted.  One would have thought that after the debacle of the contract for interpreters which revealed unbelievable inefficiency and arrogance in that organisation more mundane matters such as managing rotas would be handled with at least an impression of best practice.  It can arguably be the case that correct management of a rota system for the effective functioning of the country`s magistrates` courts is a prime if not the prime objective of a system which has  this year been forced from being a  local function to a national one on the civil service reasoning that bigger is always better.



Our bench prior to 2012 had about 260 members and after amalgamation with a further two local benches that increased by about 100 or so.  During that earlier time period one rather overworked but extremely efficient person did her very level best to ensure there were three person benches for every court having used a simple computer based system every six months to produce a rota for that purpose. When faced with short handed benches she knew who to contact for short notice additional last minute sittings; namely those who had indicated their general availability on the rota request form.  Late in 2012 she left work  for personal reasons and was replaced by two novices who were instructed to immediately institute an annual rota and to offer the whole new bench the opportunity to fill last minute requirements.  The result was obvious to anybody with an ounce of common sense.  Offers to fill last minute vacancies were left unconfirmed until just a few days prior to required dates resulting in an enormous increase in two person benches and a reduced offering from  those whose diaries demanded a more efficient service.  Whilst the novices are now experienced in their task it is only this year end with our yet to be published rota that it will be for a six month period only as it was previously.  This should assist members in forecasting more accurately their anticipated availability.  But we are still suffering from last minute court cancellations and paradoxically last minute pleas for assistance in constituting benches of three even although our enlarged bench now has the same number of J.P.s as our original bench of 2011.   The eagerly awaited rota for January- June 2015 will, we have been informed, be full of the latest bells and whistles. It will comprise,  in addition to regular allocated sittings,  mentored sittings, appraised sittings, crown court sittings besides the expected mix of sex and ethnic diversity.  However if increasing numbers of colleagues continue to offer only the minimum number of sittings or not many more I cannot foresee that  2015 will be much different from 2014 in numbers of cancelled courts, cancelled sittings, two person benches and last minute requests to make up properly constituted benches. 



Just call me J.J.P..............Jeremiah the Justice of the Peace.  

3 comments:

  1. I came across your blog as i was searching for some information regarding The Justice of the Peace. I have documemts that need certifying by The Justice of the Peace. I live in Manchester and i would appreciate any information on how i can go about getting my documents certified. Thank you.
    F Simbi

    ReplyDelete
  2. I came across your blog as i was searching for some information regarding The Justice of the Peace. I have documemts that need certifying by The Justice of the Peace. I live in Manchester and i would appreciate any information on how i can go about getting my documents certified. Thank you.
    F Simbi
    Email: fotunesimbi@yahoo.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  3. Take them along to your local Magistrates' court and make you request there. You will be accommodated as soon as convenient.

    ReplyDelete