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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Sunday, 19 July 2015


Over the last few days the British Medical Association has been making clear the views of its members in opposition to the Health Secretary`s stated intention of ensuring a fully operational seven day service at NHS hospitals.  Whether or not one agrees or disagrees with the BMA there is no doubt that it is putting forward its policies and arguments effectively. Compare that with the Magistrates Association`s responses to the actual and proposed closure of about a quarter of magistrates` courts since 2010.  The following is its response:-

MA National Chairman Richard Monkhouse has commented:

“Our members know that court closures are coming, the Lord Chancellor and his predecessor have both said as much. We accept that there is scope for efficiencies in the system and that frankly some courts are underused due to a variety of reasons, not least the trend in fewer cases coming to court over recent years.
“As with previous closures, our prime concern is that access to justice and the administration of the law is not adversely effected. To that end we will be engaging with the consultation and making our views known accordingly.” is beyond question that comparing magistrates and the M.A. to doctors and the BMA is almost but not quite like comparing chalk to cheese.  Their membership, finances, constitution  and functions are totally different but that IMHO does not excuse the MA from appearing to be a lapdog kowtowing to government dictat.  Surely there is room for a new organisation which actually works on behalf of and in the protection of Justices of the Peace.  


  1. They haven't for many years. I have seen the role of JPs reduced steadily for over 20 years- I am not concerned with protecting them so that they are kept busy or fulfilled- but only from the point of view of the interests of justice. While rights activists and lawyers have argued successfully (so far) that most defendants should be tried by their peers, they have happily accepted that a vast majority of cases involving the allegedly BAD, but not the mad or sad, be decided in magistrates courts by a single lawyer -DJ or DDJ. During this period, the reaction from the MA has been............................

  2. From the BMA: "So, while there are some helpful messages in the DDRB's report around contractual safeguards, affordability and the need for urgent data collection and modelling to test the impact of proposals, there are many recommendations that have found their way into the Ministerial statement that will require a great deal of further thought and analysis on the impact and acceptability."
    Fighting words?