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.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

So Farewell Then To 2009

I am pleased to agree with HM The Queen's view that 2009 was a year with precious little good in it, when our insecure economy and the determination of those who wish us harm combined to cast a pall of gloom over Britain.
2010 will bring us at least one General Election, and may bring about a change of Government, but in these febrile times anything could happen. In my own little world of summary justice crime is bound to continue, but nobody has any real idea of the real level. If you have been burgled, your personal crime rate is 100%, whatever has happened to other people. The swingeing cuts that will be needed in public spending are bound to affect the justice system in the medium term and there is not the slightest chance of any new spending commitments, as politicians focus on the NHS and other ring-fenced priorities. Looking back to the bright hopes of 1997 many of us in the justice system feel a keen disappointment at the way in which the Blair government pandered to populist sentiment not because they thought that it might reduce crime, but rather to gain a favourable headline. The criminal justice goalposts have been nudged along, year by year, to favour the prosecution and hamper the defence. The soft underbelly of the criminal defence profession is its need to be paid by the government, so that is of course where the latest attack is focused. Gibes about fat-cats apart, many publicly-funded lawyers are struggling to make ends meet. For every glossy Temple silk who delivers a Rolls-Royce service for Rolls-Royce money there are a score of dedicated defence briefs who have seen their fees cut time after time.
But we will all carry on doing the best that we can in 2010, as we did in 2009 and in the years before it. I have had a quiet December from a court point of view, due partly to the weather and partly to family reasons. From next week, it's all up and running again. I can't wait.
Happy New Year, and thank you to everyone who takes the trouble to add comments. All are welcome, whether they come to praise or to carp.