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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Thursday, 1 February 2018

GIVING "ADVICE" TO ERRANT JUDGES

So far this year the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office has issued various pieces of "advice" to three magistrates. These "investigations" in general are very often directed against those who do not perform the required number of sittings (perhaps c40% of total) or those whose behaviour or speech is considered inappropriate.  For obvious reasons where matters of sentencing by magistrates are concerned the appeal system at crown court prevails. But what happens when a judge`s sentencing decision is so out of kilter with accepted norms i.e. Sentencing Guidelines that the Appeal Court doubles the previous sentence?  My understanding is that such cases would be dealt with "informally".  This seems to fly in the face of procedures of a similar if different significance with other professions.  

In the current climate of mistrust and/or failing confidence in government in general, experts in particular and our criminal justice system above all such "in house" secretive "advice" to the bewigged should be in the public domain and the longer the wig the louder the sanction. 

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