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.

My Photo
Location: Near London, United Kingdom

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

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Charlie Again

I have just been given my own copy of the DCA White Paper on 'Supporting Magistrates' Courts to Provide Justice'. Boy, do these government lawyers know how to write a snappy title!

The document was given to me, and is ten pounds a copy to the general populace, but absolutely nothing to anyone who has the nous to download it from the DCA website (link is on the sidebar). Thus does the British Government tax the unwary and the unwired.

It is among the less inane of the hundreds of expensively printed and easily forgotten tomes that have thudded onto my doormat in recent years. I shall read it with care, but just to tickle your collective fancy, here are a few nuggets, mined during a random flick through its glossy pages :-

The Right Honourable Lord Falconer of Thoroton QC, Lord High Chancellor, and Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, successor to Saint Thomas More, albeit slightly less likely to be beheaded, signs himself Charlie.

The magistracy dates back to 1195. There are currently about 28,000 JPs. They deal with over 95% of criminal cases in England and Wales. For the purpose of this post please disregard Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In 2004 2,037,000 defendants were proceeded against in court. 1,534,000 or thereabouts were tried by magistrates. 61,000 people were sent to prison by magistrates. 2,293 ASBOs were made.

Court documents must now be written in Plain English. An ineffective trial costs £270. (I don't believe that for a moment, by the way).

There are 32,000,000 licensed vehicles and 38,000,000 licensed drivers in Great Britain. Summary motoring offences make up 50% of total court proceedings, and 573,000 of those are for no insurance.

The free telephone number for asking for an application pack to become a magistrate is 0800 003007. Information packs will in future be given to jurors when they finish their period of service. The average magistrate is aged 57. 93.3% are white, as against 90.9% of the population.

Well that's enough numbers for one day.