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, September 03, 2007

A Bit of Perspective

Like most magistrates I am often asked to countersign documents such as applications for passports, driving licences, shotgun certificates and the like. It's part of the job, and I am happy to help.
The other day I agreed to sign something for a Chinese national (who has full right to be in the UK) and when I arrived, pen and spectacles to hand, I was surprised to be taken on one side by her English housemate. "You ought to know" he said, "I had to stop her from going out to buy you a present half an hour ago". I was halfway towards asking why when the penny dropped. In China, as in so many parts of the world, if you want an official to do any service, however small, a present is expected, its value dependent on the importance of the matter in hand.
I laughed it off and settled for a cold glass of beer, but it did remind me that Britain is one of the least corrupt countries in the whole world, and that I am very proud of that fact.