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Police: RED CARD FOR JUDGES

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

There can`t be anybody who`s not heard of or used the phrase, "there`s one law for them and another for us" the terms "them" and "us" being who the listener wants them to be.  There is also the commonly accepted concept that the more of an object or a commodity one possesses the less value is perceived of a single item of that object or commodity.  An obvious example is money.  £10 to a receiver of social security and other benefits is worth almost literally infinitely more than the self same amount to a multi millionaire.  And what has this to do with what is a magistrate`s blog or perhaps more accurately the thoughts of a retired magistrate?  Confidence in equality before the law and confidence in those who administer the law are fundamental to our democratic well being.

At the last count earlier this year there were 12,651 magistrates in England and Wales whilst there were 3,174 judges of all levels of jurisdiction from county courts to the Supreme Court.  However reading through just a single year of disciplinary cases (2021)  and for...

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Police: 25 SUGGESTIONS FROM THE JUSTICE GAP

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

I would  assume that most readers here have noticed in some media or other a convicted felon having his/her jail sentence increased on appeal by the attorney general. Indeed there are a couple of high profile cases currently going through the process right now.  Less media attention is given to those whose legal teams have convinced the court of appeal that the verdicts by which their clients were imprisoned were unsafe. Rape trials and child killers have often made the headlines with the conviction rate of the former being criticised as far too low and sentences of the latter less severe than the common man would deem necessary short of hanging. Whilst no UK government would every admit and perhaps even secretly admire in private whilst deploring in public the Chinese conviction rate of 99% is typical of justice within a dictatorship where opposition of any kind, criminal or otherwise, is seen as political opposition which must be eradicated.  

The Justice Gap, magazine of an independent pressure group, has this week...

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Police: CROWN COURT BACKLOG/MAGISTRATE SHORTAGE// GOVERNMENT SELF CREATED PROBLEMS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

The issues of anything to do with magistrates are usually not headline making nor worthy of headline making........until recently.  No judicial voices were heard in the last decade crying out against the two thirds reduction in the numbers of magistrates from 2010 a reduction that was entirely predictable considering the age profile of those in 2010 and a government policy of non recruitment thereafter.  Now there is a headlong drive by the Ministry of Justice to enlist no less than 4,000 new magistrates to join the current cohort of twelve and a half thousand. One doesn`t need to be a Nostradamus to appreciate that within a year or less a quarter of those on the bench will be novices. One unmentioned result of this inexperienced influx will be that legal advisors will hold sway to an unhealthy level of magistrates` decision making. The ability of benches to take an independent view of a situation will be funnelled into the mindset of paid civil servants who should have no...

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Police: THE CHOICE IS BINARY

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace


On 12th January I wrote at length on the trial of the Colston 4.  Thus I was pleased to note that the Attorney General whose decisions since taking office have not been above criticism has taken an interest in this case and referred it to the Court of Appeal.  From recent divergences of opinion on the law most notably Boris Johnson`s remarks on the exporting of illegal immigrants to Rwanda that he expects opposition in the courts as to the legality of his proposals a political divide between "woke" lawyers and the rest is becoming apparent.  It is also  apparent that the political divisions opened by the 2016 Referendum, itself an expedient act by David Cameron to hold together the Tory Party, have widened the gulf between our previously held opinions of what we call the Left and Right.  Differences in matters eg sexual orientation and gender have now become standards by which extremists view their world.........not ours but theirs because such individuals apply their self defined formulae to almost any activity or opinion.  Their world...

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Police: LOCAL COUNCILS ENCOURAGE FLY TIPPING

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

According to the government whether we like it or not restrictions imposed over the last two years to minimise the transmission of Covid 19 have been lifted.  We can all go about our business as we wish taking any precautions we deem helpful (if any at all)  and trusting in our own common sense and vaccinations. Sounds simple but there are some areas of our lives where Covid restrictions have been used to make more inroads into the way we live.  

Magistrates will be well aware of the increase in the numbers appearing before them on charges of fly tipping as are local councils who provide the first line of defence against those despoilers of our highways and byways.   Councils are able to issue on-the-spot fines to fly-tippers of up to £400 and can stop, search and seize vehicles suspected of being used for fly-tipping. Local authorities and the Environment Agency are also able to issue penalties of up to £400 to householders who do not pass their waste to a licensed carrier and whose waste is then found fly-tipped....

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Police: OYEZ, OYEZ, OYEZ

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

There are millions of court cases annually in this country; a very small number is reported in the national and/or local media and an even smaller number is commented upon in legal publications.  It is therefore hardly surprising that the great British public apart from the third of adult males who have a criminal record has little idea of what constitutes justice.  

The issue of subcontractors working under IR 35 has primarily been an issue for accountants and their clients of whom there are or were millions.  To be or not to be an employee had little effect on those members of the public who perhaps many times removed were beneficiaries of what ostensibly was an arrangement between employer and contractor.  But there was and is a major dividing line at the sharp end of that contractual relationship: what is the result of negligent and/or less than satisfactory working standards of the contractor and harm or loss befalls the customer?  Until recently that position at least as far as dentists was unresolved. Dental practice owners have...

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Police: A ZOMBIE NATION STATE

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

Sometimes I ask myself what exactly is a legal system; is it a series of laws? are these laws built from the bottom up (of society)  or the top down (of government)?  Are they meant to lead us or to follow us? Many thinkers more able than I have written millions of words on similar topics.  However we are where we are.  It is in the apparent anomalies of the application or otherwise of our laws where lie more questions than answers. 

Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states: "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law". Thus, everyone must be treated equally under the law regardless of race, gender, colour, ethnicity, religion, disability, or other characteristics, without privilege, discrimination or bias.  What a wonderful sentiment but anyone with the most slender connection to the workings of our legal system knows full well that in practice it ain`t necessarily so.  Power has privilege. Power is the ability to influence and make decisions that...

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Police: UKRAINE SHOWS BRITAIN HAS NO DIRECTION

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

There comes a time when a retrospective of every nation will show a fundamental change in society, government and other bellwethers.  Historians will offer their own analyses a generation or two subsequently but these observations are of use only as signposts for the future; unfortunately for many reasons they are just an exercise for the authors.  The true indicators of how we conduct ourselves as a nation and where that conduct is leading us are often shrouded in  an  etymological fog. Perhaps the most famous seer through that fog was a master of etymology; Winston Churchill who, for all his faults, realised the folly of British  foreign policy in the 1930s.  In our own time perhaps the most (in)famous speech on society was by Enoch Powell in 1968. He was Member of Parliament (1950–1974), then Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) MP (1974–1987), and was Minister of Health (1960–1963).  His speech was undoubtedly racist but his target was misplaced: god fearing black immigrants from British Caribbean colonies have been a...

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Police: THE INDEPENDENT MAGISTRACY IS A HISTORIC JOKE

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

"A day in the life: Magistrates reveal what it's like to work in North East courts"
.  That is the headline in the current edition of "Chronicle Live"; an on line news medium in the North East of England.  The  Ministry of Justice is spending one million pounds over the next few months to seek out and appoint 4,000 new members to the magistracy.  Of course those wise folk in Petty France are loath to concede that they are the very same folk who have been sitting around since 2010 at the very same desks whilst they looked on benignly as their political Tory bosses emasculated the magistracy by failing to appoint a thousand new JPs annually to back fill the age related rapid decline in numbers taking place in front of them.  It seems that there are few news outlets not unhappy about an unexpected source of additional income. 

It is old news that many (most?) criminal lawyers are not supportive of the lay magistracy.  Whether they personally resent being directed in court by a non lawyer or genuinely believe the...

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Police: 767 LAYABOUT LORDS

Written by RSS Poster The Justice of the Peace

The House of Commons is arguably overloaded with MPs.  Such a statement will have many antagonists who might just have a case to answer.  However there is no doubt that the House of Lords is an anachronism where in the main almost 900 self satisfied has beens are paid £323 to turn up, sign the register and f*** off to their favourite drinking haunts. From time to time they might waste £410 of our tax money to ask pointless questions in their chamber.  It doesn`t occurr to many that perhaps five minutes or less with Mr Google or reference to the appropriate Lords library will elicit their  required information which is generally already in the public domain.  

Step forward Lord Jones; aka Baron Jones whose greatest political achievement was as a parliamentary under-secretary of state for Wales from 1974 to 1979.  He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for East Flintshire from 1970 to 1983. In 1994, Jones was appointed by the Prime Minister as a member of the then new Intelligence and Security Committee, on which he served until 2001 when the...

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Latest The Justice Of The Peace Stories

RED CARD FOR JUDGES
25 SUGGESTIONS FROM THE JUSTICE GAP
CROWN COURT BACKLOG/MAGISTRATE SHORTAGE// GOVERNMENT SELF CREATED PROBLEMS
THE CHOICE IS BINARY
LOCAL COUNCILS ENCOURAGE FLY TIPPING

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Emergency Shorts:
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