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 If any comment seems submitted just to advertise a website it will not be published.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, 27 April 2016


When speaking in support of or giving a character reference for an offender it is not unlikely that the supporter would submit his/her name, qualifications and relationship to said offender in order to enhance the magnitude, depth, sincerity and beneficial effect of the words spoken or written.  If that supporter is a magistrate it would be most unwise to mention being such an office holder. 

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office recently released the following statement:-
Mr John Kavanagh, a magistrate appointed to the Bury and Rochdale Bench,was subject to a conduct investigation. The Lord Chancellor and Mr Justice Leggatt found that Mr Kavanagh had inappropriately signed a character reference for a party to court proceedings using the JP suffix. TheLordChancellor and Mr Justice Leggatt considered that this action amounted to misconduct and have issued Mr Kavanagh with formal advice”.


  1. It always amazes me how utterly stupid some people can be. That such a person is a magistrate is deeply worrying and should raise the question as to their suitability to continue in that role.

  2. It appears that you can only put JP after you name on items such as Christmas and birthday cards.

    1. I presume your comment was meant as sarcasm, but surely it should have been obvious to anyone that using the suffix in respect of a character reference for an offender would be completely unacceptable? There is very clear guidance given to the use of the suffix which includes giving careful thought before using it on anything other than official court documents.There is no excuse for the idiocy of the magistrate in question. He can consider himself lucky not to have been kicked off the bench.

  3. I know of someone who got a very lenient sentence for drink driving and who had a good character witness statement from a judge who was well known to the court. No informal advice given to him as far as I know.