The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Pissups and Breweries

Once upon a time, every town of any size had a magistrates' court. They had a Clerk to the Justices who has been described as a cross between a butler and a family solicitor. Local people dealt with local malefactors.

Then efficiency beckoned. Courts were amalgamated, so that in rural areas users might have to drive 40 miles each way to court. So did Police and lawyers and Council Social Workers, and all the rest of them, so the costs saved by amalgamating courts were passed to other agencies and to the public.

London was expensively reorganised under the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority (snappy, eh?). The GLMCA planned to close and flog off some courthouses, and use the cash to build whizzy new ones. Every single closure was vetoed by one means or another leaving the grand plan wrecked. It didn't matter though, because a couple of years into the GLMCA's life it was decided to set up HerMajesty's Court Service (well, at least they didn't call it Consignia) and the GLMCA will die unlamented on the 31st March 2005.

Nearly all of the people in the system expect the new setup to be at least as useless as the GLMCA. But by the time this becomes apparent, the perpetrators will have collected their gongs and their pensions and retired.

The boss of HMCS is a former male nurse.