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.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Legal Aid

Today was the first day of the new Legal Aid régime that reintroduces means-testing for defendants. As expected we were forced to adjourn five cases for a week to allow lawyers and court staff to sort out eligibility. Across the country there must have been hundreds. The new means form is fiendishly complex and runs to more than two dozen pages.

Court staff and judiciary have worked hard for eighteen months and more to reduce delay in hearing cases. We have hammered defence and prosecution, cut requests for adjournments down from weeks to days and from days to hours. It has worked. Now, with yet another ill-thought-out reform, we are reintroducing systemic delay.

Brilliant. Bloody brilliant.