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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Saturday, 5 December 2015

DO J.P.s HAVE THE CAJONES?

So we will soon see the back of the most ill thought out regulation involving the courts since I became part of the system.  Questions remain; will those few who have paid the charge be refunded?  I doubt that very much.  Will J.P.s impose the charge for its remaining couple of weeks?  I suspect that many Deputy Justices` Clerks are   in a turmoil realising the questions to be posed by magistrates and their bench chairmen on Monday. Their bosses; the two dozen Justices` Clerks who are hoping to climb the civil service greasy pole, will do nothing to prejudice their own positions.  There is little doubt in my mind that financial penalties will be adjusted by individual benches next week until Christmas Eve to mitigate the effects of this regulation now in its death throes.  The same will not occur in courts where District Judges preside. What a rare opportunity this presents for J.P.s with cajones to show that they really are representatives, not necessarily local, of the greater society and to defy their legal advisors who cannot condone any  decision that might be unlawful and who will make clear notes if a bench defies their advice.  

3 comments:

  1. This is a question that I have been keen to ask of a magistrate. How do you feel about the practice that has become common across the UK, of Councils hiring a court room for a day or afternoon, in order to deal with thousands of council tax liabilities? Surely this is illegal and unlawful.

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  2. We have been asked to 'avoid putting the legal advisers in a difficult position'...

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  3. It's not, in my humble opinion, a matter of cajones.

    Like most justices I was appalled at the injustice of the CCC and nearly let out whoop of joy when the news broke that it would be consigned to the bin from the 24th December. However, distasteful though it will be, we cannot ignore the law as it stands - offences committed prior to the 24th December will attract the charge and the law requires that it is imposed. Justices cannot pick and choose.

    We have a victory that was won by our collective strength of argument, commitment and integrity. Justices made their views known in rather stark contrast to the professional judiciary who largely kept their mutterings and complaints private. We should not now sully the principled position that we adopted by, in effect, breaking the law. We are required to apply the charge for offences committed prior to the 24th so that is what we must do; we cannot strike it out early. We can at least take comfort from the fact that we overturned this iniquitous and disreputable charge and that, going forward, we no longer have to impose it.

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