Transform Justice is a national charity working for a fair, humane, open and effective justice system
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August 26, 2015
How did the criminal court charge get through parliament?

There are now many protests about the criminal courts charge – protests that have increased… Read more

August 26, 2015
How did the criminal court charge get through parliament?

There are now many protests about the criminal courts charge – protests that have increased… Read more

August 26, 2015
Magistrates: crisis what crisis?

No-one wants to publicise bad news. New figures on the number of magistrates show serious… Read more

July 17, 2015
Court closure – who cares?

The announcement of the proposed closure of 91 courts came as little surprise to watchers… Read more

July 9, 2015
The invisibility of magistrates – in fact and in policy

How often do you see magistrates – in plays, the news or in documentaries? I… Read more

July 1, 2015
What impact would a lawyers’ “strike” have?

It seems clear that a lawyers’ “strike” may be imminent in England and Wales.  Defence… Read more

June 26, 2015
Is better IT the answer to courtroom chaos?

It was an interesting week for court reform.  The Lord Chancellor pronounced himself shocked by… Read more

June 19, 2015
More court closures?

The latest HMCTS Annual Report is no bedtime reading but reveals some interesting developments.  The words… Read more

June 12, 2015
Of those in magistrates’ court cells, how many really need to be there?

I visited Thames Magistrates Court the other Friday.  For one of the busiest magistrates’ courts,… Read more

June 3, 2015
Are the cuts to some parts of justice costing more than they save?

I’m concerned that the Ministry of Justice is not making the savings it intended to… Read more

May 30, 2015
why we still prosecute too many people

The number of prosecutions has gone down in recent years, but when I talk to… Read more

May 23, 2015
A new injustice: lack of legal advice for those who breach anti-social behaviour injunctions

There was concern when the government proposed that the new anti-social behaviour orders should be… Read more

May 15, 2015
Unintended consequences of court reform?

Its a cliche to say that government works in silos, but true nonetheless.  And those… Read more

May 6, 2015
Eviction, damp, harassment – housing problems cause misery but legal help is in short supply

The reality of how people get evicted comes alive in a series of brilliant blogs… Read more

May 1, 2015
Do politicians use evidence in talking about crime?

Sense about science are worried that politicians don’t always use evidence correctly when talking about… Read more

April 25, 2015
can we learn from the way French judges supervise offenders?

So much is different in the French criminal justice system from the English, starting with… Read more

April 18, 2015
Lord Neuberger advocates that justice should be “the best we can do”

The President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger gave a very human speech the other… Read more

April 14, 2015
criminal justice and the manifestos – the curate’s egg

The political parties who have produced manifestos so far all deal with crime and justice,… Read more

April 9, 2015
We need to put restorative justice centre stage if its ever going to work

There is huge goodwill towards restorative justice, but unfortunately goodwill has not really got it… Read more

April 4, 2015
How can we engage the media in reporting about offenders and prisons?

The Howard League has recently published an essay on how voluntary sector organisations advocating for… Read more

March 31, 2015
Panorama on litigants in person

Is the only answer to the squeeze on legal aid to find more funding for… Read more

March 25, 2015
The power of a financial incentive in reducing imprisonment

The Lord Chancellor has given CRCs a financial incentive to reduce offending under a payment… Read more

March 13, 2015
How open can a judge be? Meet Judge Cristi Danilet of Romania

I never thought I’d meet a judge like Cristi Danilet.  At an excellent seminar today… Read more

March 4, 2015
A fair justice system…even for the wealthy?

The government’s measures to get more money from the court system affect access to justice… Read more

February 27, 2015
are new laws the answer to victims’ dissatisfaction with the system?

Victims have long voiced unhappiness about their treatment by the criminal justice system.  Their unhappiness… Read more

February 19, 2015
A fog surrounding unrepresented defendants in the criminal courts

The civil courts are bring thrown into chaos by the number of litigants in person… Read more

February 13, 2015
Judges feel they are subject to too much change and insufficient reward

A fascinating study has been published based on a survey of paid judges at every… Read more

February 1, 2015
can we change the debate on criminal justice?

“Committing a crime is always a choice. That’s why the primary, proper response to crime… Read more

January 28, 2015
Radical ideas from Leveson – the impact of prisoner transport on criminal courts

The new Leveson report on efficiency in criminal proceedings contains a number of radical ideas.  One… Read more

January 18, 2015
whence the magistracy? will numbers of JPs fall below 20,000?

Lord Beecham has recently asked some key questions about magistrate numbers.  Numbers overall have fallen… Read more

January 11, 2015
Can you and should you manage the performance of magistrates?

Volunteers are not employees. They are working for an organisation because they want to help…. Read more

January 1, 2015
Is magistrates’ training fit for purpose?

Spend on magistrates’ training has gone down from £110 per magistrate in 2008/9, to £26 per… Read more

December 25, 2014
should judges speak out in response to criticism?

Judges never do media interviews and never give statements about particular cases.  But should they?… Read more

December 18, 2014
Reading between the lines of the Lord Chief Justice’s annual report

The Lord Chief Justice cannot criticise government policy so its worth both reading the text… Read more

December 12, 2014
New report on difference in cost between lay magistrates and DJs

The way work is shared between lay magistrates and district judges can be a bone… Read more

December 6, 2014
Right on crime – is it only possible for conservatives to do penal reform?

Danny Kruger presented a great programme for BBC Radio 4 on “Right on Crime”, the… Read more

December 2, 2014
Its all in the implementation

I’m a big picture person and took my eye off the ball after the government… Read more

November 29, 2014
Is magistrates’ training fit for purpose?

Spend on magistrates’ training has gone down from £110 per magistrate in 2008/9, to £26 per… Read more

November 19, 2014
“Judicial Diversity: Accelerating Change”

For quite a radical report “Judicial diversity: accelerating change” didn’t get much coverage.  It was… Read more

November 9, 2014
The controversy surrounding giving magistrates greater sentencing powers

I’m not sure why Simon Hughes wanted to stop magistrates having increased sentencing powers but… Read more

November 2, 2014
How to restore local justice

Few think-tanks devote much time to the diminution of local justice.  But Politeia has just… Read more

October 23, 2014
Are judges more or less independent than in 2000?

What has happened to judicial independence and accountability in the last twenty years?  There have… Read more

October 11, 2014
a truly radical English Judge?

Lord Justice Ryder is an unusual judge, having started his working life as an investment… Read more

October 5, 2014
Are courts in chaos?

Two recent articles have given a glimpse of the impact of austerity on magistrates’ courts…. Read more

September 29, 2014
I’m truly impressed by Ireland’s reform of penal policy

I wouldn’t have known about Ireland’s fantastic new penal policy without twitter – @lukecareypact tweeted… Read more

September 19, 2014
Magistrates…small steps to increase diversity?

If you want to become a magistrate, there are very few areas in the country… Read more

September 12, 2014
What to learn from the success of the Family Drug and Alcohol Court?

Why has one type of specialist court succeeded in England and Wales while others have… Read more

September 6, 2014
Doing what works to cut crime – the new LibDem ideas

The LibDems have always supported human rights and open justice.  Its a pity that they… Read more

August 31, 2014
Magistrate numbers: terminal decline?

Magistrate numbers are at their lowest level since I’m not sure when.  Judiciary figures for… Read more

July 28, 2014
The Lord Chief Justice is proud of judicial training but where is the evidence?

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, recently described the Judicial  College as one of the… Read more

July 15, 2014
Ann Aiken: a truly different federal judge

On my travels so far, people have distinguished the Federal Justice System from the State… Read more

June 25, 2014
Not all US judges are gung-ho about problem solving

I met the retired DA (elected public prosecutor) of Portland and enjoyed his take on… Read more

June 25, 2014
Measure 11- power to the people?

I’m all for giving power to the people, but only if the people are very… Read more

June 24, 2014
Why is it so difficult to embed problem-solving courts in England and Wales?

My experience in USA has made me ask why it is so difficult to embed… Read more

June 24, 2014
Judging the performance of judges – a US approach

There is no doubt in my mind that electing judges is a bad idea.  Most… Read more

June 21, 2014
Bitten by the specialist court bug?

I think I’ve been bitten by the specialist court bug and need to pinch myself… Read more

June 21, 2014
Policy change

a small example of how a judge contributed to policy change. I’ve heard a number… Read more

June 21, 2014
How to get the bus to stop right outside the court

Michigan has way more court-rooms per head of population than England.  Every town of any… Read more

June 21, 2014
Therapeutic jurisprudence in action – the Baltimore drug court

In the short time I’ve been in USA I have seen some amazing judges.  Or… Read more

June 19, 2014
Fines – a transatlantic problem

The imposition of fines is at the cornerstone of both US and English justice.  Fines… Read more

June 18, 2014
The veterans’ court graduation – an emotional experience

I have never seen so many offenders say thank-you in a court as I did… Read more

June 18, 2014
Setting up the Detroit homeless court- a truly collaborative effort

The effort involved in getting the Street Outreach court in Detroit off the ground was… Read more

June 14, 2014
Elections for the judiciary in USA – a barrier to penal reform?

In many states of the  USA, judges are elected by the people.  And in some… Read more

June 13, 2014
A glimpse into the juvenile court in Washington DC

Most children under 18 are seen by the juvenile court in DC.  All court proceedings… Read more

June 11, 2014
A mental health court in DC – adversarial or inquisitorial?

To my shame, I have never visited a mental health court in England.  But I… Read more

June 11, 2014
US judges – involved or aloof?

This morning in Washington DC I observed a very busy drugs court.  The judge, Gregory… Read more

June 10, 2014
Has the West London drugs court closed and does it matter?

The West London Drugs Court was set up in 2007, led by a charismatic District… Read more

June 10, 2014
“Man is born free, but is everywhere in chains”

The symbolism of chains is very strong – for me it evokes slavery and a… Read more

June 8, 2014
Reduction in child custody- a US success story

Its easy to get gloomy about mass incarceration in USA.  The numbers are so huge… Read more

June 6, 2014
How single-minded should those campaigning against the death penalty be?

Sometimes campaigners can stab each other in the back unwittingly.  In England and Wales, there… Read more

June 4, 2014
Are US judges interested in penal reform?

Marc Mauer of the Sentencing Project offered a sobering statistic.  If the prison population of the… Read more

June 4, 2014
Working to upskill lawyers who defend children…a shining light in the US youth justice system

The National Juvenile Defender Center is a brilliant idea – an NGO which campaigns for and… Read more

June 4, 2014
US judges – more innovative than English judges but still lacking organisational power

It’s depressing but also uplifting to hear about the US system of criminal justice.  I’m… Read more

June 2, 2014
Treating child defandants as adults – a US phenomenon

I have arrived in the land of the free only to be depressed about children… Read more

May 30, 2014
Interpreters – a duff contract?

When I was a magistrate,  interpreters were frequent used to aid defendant, witness or both…. Read more

May 23, 2014
Do magistrates need more TLC…and management?

There is low morale on many magistrates’ benches.  This is due to budget cuts, a… Read more

May 16, 2014
Magistrates and school governors…a similar crisis in diversity?

A report came out this week suggesting that the governors of schools do not reflect… Read more

May 6, 2014
the continuous “arms race” in criminal justice

One of the reasons why our prisons are full to bursting is because our sentencing… Read more

April 26, 2014
a piecemeal approach to the fall out from cutting legal aid?

The number of people involved in court or tribunal cases who don’t have a lawyer… Read more

April 20, 2014
Is Labour radical enough on criminal justice?

Labour has published a policy paper on criminal justice (and other issues) for consultation with… Read more

April 14, 2014
A letter to the Lord Chief Justice

Dear Lord Chief Justice, Of all your recent public appearances, I most appreciated your appearance… Read more

April 9, 2014
The upsides and downsides of being a magistrate today

“I have been a magistrate for 26 years and I’m as enthusiastic as the first… Read more

April 1, 2014
Why have a lay magistracy? The magistrates’ view

‘It’s sort of like the community elder. You sit on the bench, and you live… Read more

March 25, 2014
A pro magistrate government?

Damian Green, Minister of State across the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice is… Read more

March 19, 2014
How punitive can you be? The criminal justice arms race

How punitive is the man on the Clapham omnibus?  It is a subject that divides… Read more

March 6, 2014
Is the magistracy too middle class? a difference of opinion

Transform Justice’s new research on the make-up of the magistracy was launched at the end… Read more

March 4, 2014
Diversity matters in the youth and family court too

When I decided to apply to be a magistrate, my passion was family justice.  I… Read more

February 26, 2014
Magistrates: representatives of the people?

Transform Justice’s new report is published today.  Its about the make-up of the magistracy today… Read more

February 11, 2014
Should magistrates sit alone?

Last week, the government published yet another criminal justice bill.  More change is problematic –… Read more

February 3, 2014
Justice reinvestment – the holy grail for criminal justice reform?

The most effective means of reducing offending lie outside the remit of the justice system.  … Read more

January 31, 2014
The importance of gay magistrates

Transform Justice’s recent report on diversity made no mention of sexual orientation. This was not… Read more

January 24, 2014
Is there a better process for recruiting magistrates?

The magistrate recruitment process takes longer than any recruitment process I’ve ever heard of. Two… Read more

January 17, 2014
Are magistrates facing a diversity crisis?

Magistrates are less diverse now than in 1999.  They are on average older and less… Read more

January 14, 2014
Why has the magistracy shrunk?

If the value of the magistracy is justice by the people for the people, why… Read more

January 10, 2014
Should legal sanctions be used against annoying people?

This week peers voted against the government’s new definition of anti-social behaviour – conduct capable… Read more

January 4, 2014
Unrepresented defendants in the criminal court: a ticking timebomb?

“Just watched as court sent unrep’d def to prison. He didnt say a word through… Read more

December 20, 2013
Is further courts privatisation credible?

The involvement of G4S and Serco with fraudulent tagging has been well publicised.  The two… Read more

December 13, 2013
Magistrates: representative of the people?

How representative should magistrates be of their community?  A report came out today from Policy… Read more

December 7, 2013
Let the punishment fit the crime

A fair criminal justice system is one where mistakes can be easily, and fairly painlessly,… Read more

November 28, 2013
When is a pilot not a pilot?

Post riots, the Ministry of Justice announced that they were going to pilot more flexible… Read more

November 23, 2013
Who shot JR?

Can justice reinvestment be successful in a very centralised political system?  That was the question… Read more

November 17, 2013
Should more ex-offenders be magistrates?

Many ex-offenders are probably already magistrates.  A huge proportion of the male population has been… Read more

November 8, 2013
The schism within this government on localism

Is this government localist or not?  In the justice sphere they veer every which way…. Read more

November 1, 2013
Is harsher punishment the answer to hate crime?

Mencap and other charities have been waging a campaign for many years to get crime… Read more

October 27, 2013
Sentencing consistency…does it matter?

Lord Leveson gave the Howard League lecture this week on consistency in sentencing, particularly citing… Read more

October 18, 2013
How to retain a vibrant magistracy?

John Fassenfelt, outgoing Chairman of the Magistrates’ Association, has inspired the setting up of an… Read more

October 12, 2013
Radical change in the courts?

Keir Starmer has given a retirement interview to the Times in which he calls for… Read more

September 30, 2013
A seemingly dry document?

A lot of the documents coming out of the Ministry of Justice and the Judicial… Read more

September 26, 2013
A new dawn for Labour justice policy?

Sadiq Khan, Shadow Justice Minister, addressed the Labour Party Conference this week.  The speech didn’t… Read more

September 18, 2013
Should judges be judged?

Judges are perhaps the only public servants left who are not subject to any performance… Read more

September 11, 2013
Better courts: do they need structural change?

Courts in England and Wales get a bad press, being seen as inefficient, old fashioned… Read more

September 6, 2013
Crime and Guilt: punishment the German Way

I read one of the best books ever on criminal justice on holiday.  A friend… Read more

September 1, 2013
Intriguing new interest in magistrates

Why has this government suddenly focused a spotlight on magistrates and their powers?  No-one seems… Read more

July 26, 2013
No privatisation of the courts…or is there?

In late May the Times revealed that the government was planning to privatise courts administration…. Read more

July 19, 2013
Crime falls but desire for harsh punishment remains

Crime has fallen significantly yet again by 9/7% depending on which figures you use.  Hooray!… Read more

July 12, 2013
Is post-code sentencing inevitable?

There will always be some differences between courts in their sentencing.  An Inner London court… Read more

July 5, 2013
are the courts prepared for no lawyers?

There have been hundreds of people appearing in courts without a lawyer for a long… Read more

June 28, 2013
Why shouldn’t judges tell personal stories?

A judge was recently reprimanded for telling a cannabis cultivator to “jack-in” drugs. An experienced… Read more

June 21, 2013
What difference do women judges make?

Do women judges make decisions differently to male judges? According to a small scale experiment… Read more

June 16, 2013
Does the Secretary of State for Justice need to be a lawyer?

Chris Grayling is the first Lord Chancellor not to be a lawyer (I think). Previously… Read more

June 7, 2013
Are courts inefficient?

I met an MP the other day and asked him whether he supported any kind… Read more

May 27, 2013
New report on courts published today

and can be downloaded from our reports page. And the Times has written about moves… Read more

May 14, 2013
Does it matter who runs magistrates’ courts?

Why does the closure of every library inspire massive public protest while plans to close… Read more

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Subscribe to Transform Justice blog posts below:

August 26, 2015
How did the criminal court charge get through parliament?

There are now many protests about the criminal courts charge – protests that have increased… Read more

August 26, 2015
How did the criminal court charge get through parliament?

There are now many protests about the criminal courts charge – protests that have increased… Read more

August 26, 2015
Magistrates: crisis what crisis?

No-one wants to publicise bad news. New figures on the number of magistrates show serious… Read more

July 17, 2015
Court closure – who cares?

The announcement of the proposed closure of 91 courts came as little surprise to watchers… Read more