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, January 31, 2012


Look, I know it's been a bit quiet about here but I do have an excuse. Many courts, mine included, have just gone through the biggest shake-up in over a century, and as one of the people trying to make it work, I have spent many hours slaving over a hot email. On the whole things have gone pretty well. Magistrates tend to be cheerful and collaborative souls, and we all want to make the new system work as well as we can. It is no use whingeing about the lack of financial resources, because the whole public service is subject to cuts, and most of us think that it is right for us just to get on with it.
I have managed a couple of sittings recently (one of them a weekend short-notice callout for a remand) but I have dealt with very little real business. We saw a complex benefit fraud case, but the defendant entered a late guilty plea, so all that we had to do was send it to Hizonner up the road (well, it was systematic fraud over some years, resulting in a loss of more them £50,000 to the public purse). The decision was straightforward, but twenty minutes' court time cost me a full half day of travelling and out-the-back time.
I am back in a 'proper' court tomorrow, so if the business permits, I might have a tale or two to tell before the weekend.