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.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Hard Pounding, Gentlemen

Along with many other benches we are currently engaged on thrashing out the fine print of how to merge three benches with many years' history and differing cultures into a single organisation. We have settled a lot of things, all of our discussions having been overshadowed by the overriding financial stringency, but quite a few issues remain. It is apparent that the steady erosion of magistrates' self-government and local control has accelerated recently. Since our staff and advisers are civil servants now, they are subject to the direction of ministers, and in a climate where many of them don't know if they will have a job by the Autumn, caution reigns.
This kind of radical change brings out the best and the worst. The best is visible in the positive and collaborative spirit of colleagues who may regret the need for change, but who are determined to make things work. A few people are still yearning to turn the clock back, refusing to contemplate some new arrangements simply because they are new. We will get there, but after one gruelling recent meeting a couple of colleagues and I gravitated instinctively to the pub round the corner for a little d├ętente.