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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016


From time to time I have been known to be critical of cases reported in various local print media.  I have also commented upon the quality of such reports and the likelihood that there is little prospect of returning to an era where court reports made up a significant proportion of the content of such media along with births, marriages , deaths, and cars for sale.  Just as buses on a rainy day are nowhere to be seen until two or three arrive in tandem two reports today offer a glimpse of court reporting as it was and should be and are a credit to the newspapers concerned.  Whilst there might be room to criticise the outcomes of the cases reported the publications` quoting of pronouncements have allowed their readership a glimpse of how magistrates` courts actually work. So well done to the Ulster Herald and the Swindon Advertiser.


  1. Be careful what you wish for... t ime was that no court, magistrates or higher, would sit without a reporter present. I was one of them, a cub reporter on a weekly newspaper in which every case was recorded. Often the driving and other low-level offences would be listed in columns, and on one occasion our district council chairman, who had been fined for speeding, was transposed into the urinating in a public place column. Her Ladyship was far from amused...

    Little did I imagine then that I would in the Nineties be 'elevated' to the magistracy, but the last time I saw a journalist in my court was for a murder a couple of years ago. Now what's left of local reporters get their reports direct from the court offices, so miss so much of what really goes on, as evidenced by both the newspapers you have highlighted. More credit to them for still sending staff to court.

  2. For many years, a ringer sat in our Central London courts but on his premature death, no replacement appeared and only the highest profile cases (invariably handled by DJs) were observed by the press. Congratulations to both of those you quote on not only attending but clearly competent reporting.

  3. In this case there is one difference between voice writing and stenographic court reporters is the method of making the record and their skills are primarily measured through certification exams.