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March 26, 2017
Should the judiciary speak out more?
I don’t often agree wholeheartedly with the Lord Chancellor, but when it comes to who… Read more
March 18, 2017
Do criminals deserve to be punished three times for one crime?
“An eye for an eye” is a strongly held belief – that those who cause… Read more
March 15, 2017
The Prisons and Courts Bill – a Pandora’s Box? (2)
Transform Justice has published a briefing on the court reform aspects of the Prisons and Courts… Read more
March 10, 2017
Online justice – a cautionary tale
If you are charged with speeding, or driving without insurance, and admit guilt, you can… Read more
March 3, 2017
The crisis in judicial morale – is more money the answer?
Group think is very powerful. There is group think about why it is difficult to… Read more
February 24, 2017
The new prisons and courts bill – a Pandora’s Box?
The criminal courts charge was a policy fiasco – a charge to be applied to… Read more
February 17, 2017
Unintended but costly consequences
I wrote last week that the government were moving hell for leather to implement online… Read more
February 10, 2017
How can justice be “seen to be done” in an online system?
The government is proceeding hell for leather with online justice both in the civil and… Read more
February 4, 2017
Failing to turn up to meetings does not deserve imprisonment
Only in our mad, mad criminal justice system would you punish someone more severely for… Read more
January 27, 2017
A day in the life of a South London magistrates’ court
I spend a lot of time reading accounts of court life on twitter and blogs,… Read more
January 22, 2017
Is justice being sacrificed for convenience?
Andrew Langdon QC, the new Chairman of the Bar, recently said that justice has a… Read more
January 14, 2017
Magistrates and district judges – two sides of the same coin?
Magistrates and district judges (DJs) occupy the same court space and do more or less… Read more
January 6, 2017
Does it matter whether judges know the outcome of their decisions?
When I first found out that magistrates do not find out either that their decisions… Read more
December 30, 2016
Is the magistrates’ disciplinary process fair and open?
It seems slightly odd that volunteers might face disciplinary action involving public reprimands and harsh… Read more
December 20, 2016
Reform of youth justice – a lost opportunity?
Occasionally there is a golden opportunity for radical change and it is seized. Unfortunately, the… Read more
December 12, 2016
What price should we pay for consistency in sentencing?
Ten years ago there was post-code sentencing for under 18 year olds convicted of serious… Read more
December 8, 2016
Tacking teenage knife crime – is prison the answer?
“Once two boys tried to rob me. They were bigger than me, but when I… Read more
December 3, 2016
The mystery of sentence inflation
It is clear that prisons are full to bursting, and that it would be good… Read more
November 29, 2016
Should magistrates get greater sentencing powers?
I risk the wrath of magistrates up and down the land in opposing the extension… Read more
November 26, 2016
Do we need tougher community sentences?
This week the Lord Chief Justice implied that too many people were imprisoned, and that… Read more
November 16, 2016
Is there institutional racism in the criminal justice system?
The MacPherson report on Stephen Lawrence defined institutional racism as “the collective failure of an… Read more
November 14, 2016
The modern ballad of Reading Gaol – a guest blog from Roma Hooper
“In the great prison where I was incarcerated, I was merely the figure and the… Read more
November 11, 2016
No conviction is trivial – the flaw in online guilty pleas
Very few people in this country understand the implications of a criminal conviction until they… Read more
November 6, 2016
Why don’t prosecutors pick up the phone to defence advocates?
“The system is overstretched and disjointed. About two-thirds of Crown Court trials are delayed or do… Read more
October 27, 2016
Does the public benefit from being kept in the dark?
I am a passionate believer in free speech and open justice, but I also believe… Read more
October 19, 2016
A magistracy in crisis?
The Justice Committee does not use the word crisis in its new report on the… Read more
October 14, 2016
Is the magistracy still a democratic institution?
The magistracy is in theory a democratic institution: representatives of the people sit in judgement… Read more
October 8, 2016
Court reform: a view from the south
This post is really a homage to “One Wheel on my Wagon” from a criminal… Read more
October 2, 2016
What court process is really in the best interest of witnesses?
No-one denies that the experience of giving evidence in a criminal trial can be traumatic,… Read more
September 22, 2016
Our justice system – the finest in the world?
In this best of possible worlds, everything is for the best This panglossian view of… Read more
September 2, 2016
Where is the line which judges should not cross?
Judge Patricia Lynch certainly crossed a line in a recent case. A defendant called her… Read more
August 30, 2016
Is “fair” a dangerous word to use about women and justice?
Philip Davies MP sparked outrage a few weeks ago when his views on women’s… Read more
August 2, 2016
Why facts don’t persuade (on their own)
The FrameWorks Institute has just published research, commissioned by Transform Justice (with Clinks, CJA and… Read more
July 29, 2016
Why people don’t care how much the criminal justice system costs
The criminal justice system in England and Wales costs a lot – at least… Read more
July 24, 2016
Are convictions in historic sex abuse cases reliable?
How can anyone judge who is telling the truth now in the case of alleged… Read more
July 16, 2016
A letter to the new Lord Chancellor
Dear Liz, Welcome to your new role. You are faced with a number of… Read more
July 10, 2016
Are court charges setting offenders up to fail?
The dreaded criminal courts charge has been abolished, but courts are still left with a… Read more
July 1, 2016
Is the appeal system the only way judges’ mistakes can be addressed?
Ben Butler is an intriguing man. Someone with a history of violence, he was convicted… Read more
June 23, 2016
Are the best magistrates voting with their feet?
“Sarah” was a magistrate for over fifteen years, and had many years left to serve. … Read more
June 17, 2016
Drugs reform: an idea whose time has come?
Our prisons are awash with drugs, as the recent BBC film of Wandsworth prison revealed,… Read more
June 12, 2016
Should the number of magistrates be more than halved?
Shailesh Vara, the minister for courts, told the Justice Committee last Tuesday that the Ministry… Read more
June 2, 2016
Do tough sentences deter crime?
Nearly half the British population supports the death penalty and two thirds agree with the… Read more
May 26, 2016
What problems can problem-solving courts solve?
The government is making plans to re-launch problem-solving courts. These are an American invention, with… Read more
May 20, 2016
How do we reduce the number of women in prison?
The latest twist of the Archers story has highlighted the plight of women in the… Read more
May 14, 2016
Can we curb our addiction to the short prison sentence?
Prison is a dead end, whatever length of time you are there. The courts in… Read more
May 7, 2016
The mysterious decline of the community sentence
The decline of the community sentence could be seen to be a good thing. After… Read more
May 2, 2016
Eternal punishment- the consequences of being caught twice for shop-lifting aged 10
“I have two convictions. Both happened 38-years ago when I was a juvenile. The first… Read more
April 23, 2016
Justice Denied? Unrepresented defendants in the criminal courts
Transform Justice has published new research on the experience of unrepresented defendants in the criminal… Read more
April 23, 2016
Unrepresented defendants in the courts : a travesty of justice?
Unfortunately we don’t have equality of arms when it comes to unrepresented defendants. After a… Read more
April 17, 2016
Setting women prisoners up to fail?
Its great to read a positive prison inspection report, as the one for Bronzefield was… Read more
April 9, 2016
Standing alone – the experience of unrepresented litigants
“Jarndyce and Jarndyce drones on. This scarecrow of a suit has, in the course of… Read more
April 1, 2016
Are magistrates using prison because they don’t know enough about community alternatives?
Its reassuring in a way to see how concerned magistrates themselves are about deficiencies in… Read more
March 20, 2016
The holy grail of the digital court
Judges and HMCTS staff seem to have put their faith in digitisation to resolve most… Read more
March 12, 2016
Are legal fees topsy turvy?
This week a car driver was acquitted of the charge of dangerous driving. A common… Read more
March 4, 2016
Two thirds of Crown Court trials do not go ahead as planned
The latest report from the National Audit Office on efficiency in the criminal courts makes… Read more
February 24, 2016
Does the “doctrine” of judicial independence stifle magistrates?
Judicial independence is a safeguard of a fair justice system. Judges need to be independent… Read more
February 19, 2016
Why do we have so many prisoners who are not convicted?
It is one of the cardinal principles of our justice system that people are innocent… Read more
February 11, 2016
What is the point of a child serving 108 days in prison?
Youth justice is my passion, and the reason I remain optimistic about the criminal justice… Read more
February 4, 2016
Should judges use instinct?
When Mr Justice Coulson decided to identify fifteen year old Will Cornick, after sentencing him… Read more
January 28, 2016
Can Gove change the prison debate single handed?
“It is because I am a Conservative that I believe in the rule of law… Read more
January 22, 2016
Should we be prosecuting historic sex crimes?
Today the Prime Minister said “there’s an industry trying to profit from spurious claims lodged… Read more
January 16, 2016
How many prisoners are languishing in prison who legally shouldn’t be there?
Around 100 people are imprisoned in England and Wales every year for non payment of… Read more
January 9, 2016
Are judges too soft?
This week judges were again under fire for being too soft. The Sun described judges… Read more
December 13, 2015
Is confidence in the justice system at rock bottom?
Adults in the UK are more likely to have had experience of a court case,… Read more
December 4, 2015
Devolution revolution – would it help reduce prison numbers?
England and Wales has one of the most centralised criminal justice systems and one of… Read more
November 27, 2015
An uncomfortable truth- the strong link between poverty and crime
No-one is saying that poor people commit more crime, or even that poverty causes crime…. Read more
November 21, 2015
Do children in criminal courts get the defence they need?
The Youth Court is a hidden world, where most child crime cases are heard. The… Read more
November 13, 2015
Can we afford an extra 1140 recalls to prison?
Our prison population is too high and predicted to increase. The main driver is sentence… Read more
November 2, 2015
Court costs hurt the innocent
New report published today by Transform Justice on whether the innocent should end up bankrupt through getting… Read more
November 2, 2015
Should the justice system financially penalise the innocent?
“If someone is dragged through the courts through no fault of their own and is… Read more
November 1, 2015
The politics of the judiciary
Should we know how judges vote? Jeremy Paxman pointed out in the Financial Times on… Read more
October 22, 2015
How can the Ministry of Justice get out of a massive financial hole?
It was reported in the Times today that Michael Gove is considering imposing a “levy”… Read more
October 16, 2015
How to reform the criminal courts charge?
It seems clear that the government will reform the criminal court charge but its not… Read more
October 11, 2015
Do judges need or want more feedback?
In most jobs people find it useful to know what the outcome of their work… Read more
October 2, 2015
The “human cost” of our outdated court system
The new(ish) Chief Executive of the Courts Service, Natalie Ceeney, is worried about the human… Read more
September 24, 2015
Why has the criminal courts charge inspired a barrage of criticism?
The Justice Committee wants to know what we think about the criminal courts charge and… Read more
September 17, 2015
What do victims want from the Crown Prosecution Service?
Political parties have vied to produce policies on how to look after victims and witnesses… Read more
September 11, 2015
Is the court system collapsing?
One of the problems with our justice system is that it is theoretically open, but… Read more
September 2, 2015
Is magistrate recruitment fair?
Magistrates are not representative of the people. They never have been. Things were improving in… 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 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 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 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
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