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 ten years whilst I was active I retain it now only as a literary device no longer actually using the term JP for any other purpose whatsoever.

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017


There are occasional matters before magistrates` courts when one wonders just how incoherent families can be.  When that matter involves a child`s non attendance at school the instinct is to put the interests of the child as a priority.  Whether or not that direction is followed sometimes decisions have to be made that irrespective of the parent`s or guardian`s efforts the child in question is so mentally or emotionally damaged that no amount of effort would have enabled them to escape being found guilty.  At the very least they would appear in court to plead their case or at least to personally explain their mitigation to the bench. 

Basildon Magistrates recently had what I would describe as the dismal duty to fine parents of non attending children who themselves failed to turn up in court. One can only wonder in dismay at the internal dynamics of such families. 

There can be few Justices of the Peace who have had the privilege of chairing a court who have not had to speak directly to witnesses or attenders who have shown their contempt for the proceedings by behaving in a manner incompatible with the solemnity of those proceedings  and which  must not be tolerated.  To farm that job out to a court usher outside the court is an evasion of responsibility but that is exactly what happened at Gloucester Crown Court when HH Jamie Tabor was presiding.  Shame on him for putting such pressure on an overworked and vastly underpaid member of staff when he himself should have chastised such people within the confines of the courtroom.


  1. Any competant Chairman will have had a number of these situations and I would have thought Hizonner would have also had occasion to keep order in his court. With public gallery unrest there is always the ultimate sanction - downstairs until the end of the day for contempt with a chance to apologise to the court. The judge should be considering all those in the courthouse and be seen to taking control. That respect would be shared by all court users and most would say - 'about time too'. It would also enhance Hizonner's own reputation

    1. Conceivably Hizonner weighed up the angry clan of multi-generational reprobates facing him, versus whatever quirks and remnants of security that happened to be on hand, and didn't fancy his chances.

      Unless the suggestion is that he should be ready to roll up his robe and wade in himself, then the ultimate sanction, that of forcible detention, is always outsourced.