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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Tuesday, 28 June 2016
LAY BENCHES FACE MORE CRITICISM
As the numbers of District Judges(M.C.), currently 139 and a slightly higher number of Deputy District Judges preside over an increasing share of the cases before magistrates` courts it follows that any analyses of results of magistrates` courts will have results where either a lay bench or a professional single judge was presiding. A detailed investigation into all the functions at magistrates` courts was made in 2011 not without resulting controversy. As far as I am aware (and would be happy to be informed otherwise) there is no substantive answer to the question of the proportion of prosecutions before a lay or professional bench.
There has always been comment about justice as dispensed by Justices of the Peace; some worthy of debate but most appearing to be examples of prejudice. Until the rump of J.P.s over the next decade is reduced to sitting only on out of court matters there will continue to be lobbyists plying their trade with the cover of the Charities Commission to ease their costs seeking to finally extinguish a centuries old system of summary justice.