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, April 19, 2010

Well Hung

As I said the other day, this is not a political blog, but the criminal justice system has been overloaded with new laws for well over a decade now, and it is politicians who thought them up, if thought is not too strong a word.
Recent events seem to have increased the possibility of a hung parliament, and many members of the political class are claiming that this will prevent 'strong' government, whatever that means.
When you look at the unworkable and often useless laws foisted on us over the last generation, it is hard not to ask yourself just what is so bad about a system that makes it harder to ram laws through without proper debate and scrutiny. The attempted abolition of the centuries-old office of Lord Chancellor was hastily decided upon, and announced before those who actually understood the Constitution pointed out that things were not as simple as they looked. We still have a Lord Chancellor, albeit as a tacked-on title to the Stalinist sounding Minister of Justice. A senior policeman went to New York and came back enthusing about night courts. "Let's do that" came the reply from the Downing Street sofa. It never worked and was dropped. Community Courts were another dud idea from the States. Custody Plus was passed by Parliament but never implemented despite much money being spent on training. Would Margaret Thatcher have brought in the Poll Tax if she had been forced to argue it through, rather than swinging her handbag?
Whatever happens on May 6th I fervently hope that we will see the back of knee-jerk legislation, especially that which is driven by pressure from David Cameron's new pals in News International, who sometimes seem less like a media group than a wannabe political party.
It's going to be an interesting few weeks.