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.

Friday, January 06, 2012

House Full

The upheaval caused by spending cuts and resultant court mergers means that few areas are recruiting new JPs at the moment. The official data is here.

The recruitment freeze makes sense for a number of reasons, primarily the need to allow the changes to settle down, and also because it is by no means clear how much work will be coming through the courts in future. Committals are to be abolished, and I wouldn't be surprised to see bread-and-butter cases such as fare evasion and TV licences move to a fixed penalty régime. I have previously written about the heavy cutback in the number of courtroom days, and that will inevitably require fewer JPs to sit.

There will be a price to pay though. A year's freeze means that the whole bench will be one year older, and we already have a heavy bias towards older JPs:-

Under 40 3.8%
40-49 14.0%
50-59 29.9%
60-69 52.4%

We need a period of consolidation for now, but this issue will have to be addressed sooner or later.