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.

Saturday, November 06, 2010


The scenario that led to this High Court judgment will be familiar to most JPs. Legal Advisers have a delicate path to tread, most particularly when a Bench decision looks a little eccentric on the facts, or, most treacherously, on mixed law and fact. A perverse conviction can always be put right by the Crown Court, but if the LA suspects a perverse acquittal, he or she might be tempted to trespass on the justices' territory and nudge them in the 'right' direction. That's when the Chairman will earn his salt, and decide whether to invite his colleagues to have another think or whether to thank the LA politely, send him back into the courtroom, check the written-down reasons, file back in, and announce the verdict. I know that most of my LAs read this stuff, but I am not trying to curry favour when I say that their professionalism is invariably impeccable.
Their Lordships said a few kind words about the LA involved, who must have passed a few deeply uncomfortable months. Let's hope that the principles are taken on board and he will be able to flourish in his career.

The final submissions regarding costs make, as ever, an interesting postscript.