Discussing UK law. Links: swarb.co.uk | law-index | Acts | Members Image galleries

Duty solicitors at court

All matters involving criminal law

Re: Duty solicitors at court

Postby Maz JP » Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:16 pm

Spankymonkey wrote:I fail to see how "Reflecting the ethnic make up of our communities" as you put it, will in any way improve the fairness of the magistrates' courts. Unless of course you are suggesting that the existing magistracy's decisions are currently influenced by the ethnicity or other protected characteristics of the defendant.

First, I am not at all sure that there is any issue about the fairness of the magistrates' courts. If there is, please demonstrate with more than anecdote.

And secondly, at no point did I suggest that a more diverse mix, in this instance ethnicity, would have any effect on the performance of the courts. Skin colour does not affect how good someone is, or is not, at judicial decision-making. I trust you would agree?

Spankymonkey wrote:I find this type of politically fashionable group-think patronising and completely out of touch with what the public really want to see from the institutions that serve them.

It has nothing to do with 'fashionable thinking'. You maybe talk about the 'public' without thinking what that word means. Greater diversity is welcome because perception matters, and in (say) an ethnically diverse area such as that in which I sit, the appearance of an all-white bench (which thankfully now rarely happens) really does not reflect this 'public' of which you speak. The whole point of the magistracy is that we are the public, we represent the public, and it is important to uphold that, in perception as much as in reality. I'm sorry that you seem to think this is irrelevant. All all-white bench you do not object to, and yet an all middle-class bench gets you frothing at the mouth? This simply makes no sense; you seem to think that all that is needed is class diversity, whereas of course it goes much deeper than that.

Spankymonkey wrote: The question is how much of an outreach does the magistrates association make to appeal to the working class? Perhaps also the panel that interview applicants should trouble themselves less with ensuring their own political ideals and narrative is reflected back at them and be more focused on the applicants understanding of the various types of defendant's that they will most commonly see before them and a commitment to fairness and proportionality.


As far as I can remember, at no point in my interview all those years back did we discuss any form of political ideals or narratives. And, as I definitely know now, these topics are irrelevant to an application and are therefore not addressed. Why would they be? I'd go on more about the topic, but so that I understand the basis of your critique of the application process, perhaps you'd care to share where you derive your knowledge of it?

Spankymonkey wrote:And as a magistrate sits on average 35 times a year, that mentorship equates to just over a months worth of training, in court, during actual hearings, yes?


Or about 280 hours, yes. 16,800 minutes. What is the relevance of numbers? Surely what counts is what is learned and is it enough to do the job well.

I don't really understand the point that you are trying make, to be honest. You started out by poo-poohing our "3 Days" training; now that it has been shown that you were so radically wrong, you still somehow find covert grounds for criticism? The real answer is that as a magistrate you are never, and can never be, fully-trained ; I have been doing this for over a decade and I still find myself in situations which are new, for which I have not been "trained". Indeed, this is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job : there are always surprises around the corner. But if you follow the basic principles of that early core training then nothing new cannot be easily addressed.
Maz JP
 
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:51 pm

Re: Duty solicitors at court

Postby dls » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:31 pm

I fail to see how "Reflecting the ethnic make up of our communities" as you put it, will in any way improve the fairness of the magistrates' courts.


The better diversity is intended to re-assure others that the system is in fact fair. Magistrates in history were simply members of the community.
David Swarbrick (Admin) dswarb@gmail.com - 0795 457 9992
User avatar
dls
Site Admin
 
Posts: 12274
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:35 pm
Location: Brighouse, West Yorkshire

Re: Duty solicitors at court

Postby Spankymonkey » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:58 pm

dls wrote:
I fail to see how "Reflecting the ethnic make up of our communities" as you put it, will in any way improve the fairness of the magistrates' courts.


The better diversity is intended to re-assure others that the system is in fact fair. Magistrates in history were simply members of the community.


What 'others'?

Do those who work in the criminal justice system think that without such 'diversity' the system is currently unfair? If so, what evidence do they have to demonstrate this?
Spankymonkey
 
Posts: 305
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:42 am

Re: Duty solicitors at court

Postby dls » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:38 am

If all magistrates are elderly white and well off males, then it may not appear that those defendants who do not have the same characteristics may not feel that they are being understood by those who are judging their (the defendants') actions.
David Swarbrick (Admin) dswarb@gmail.com - 0795 457 9992
User avatar
dls
Site Admin
 
Posts: 12274
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:35 pm
Location: Brighouse, West Yorkshire

Re: Duty solicitors at court

Postby Maz JP » Mon Jan 23, 2017 12:25 pm

dls wrote:If all magistrates are elderly white and well off males, then it may not appear that those defendants who do not have the same characteristics may not feel that they are being understood by those who are judging their (the defendants') actions.


Justice must (as the tired aphorism notes) not only be done, it must be seen to be done, etc, hence my comments on perceptions above.

As dls notes, magistrates are members of the community and ideally would reflect that community. Indeed it was not so long ago that "local justice" was the buzzword, and magistrates were required to know the communities in which they sat. Sadly this phrase has of late become a dirty one, and with the closure of so many courts, magistrates nowadays often find themselves (especially in the North of the country) sitting many, many miles from where they live.

Suffolk, for instance, will shortly have only one magistrates court. And I, who live in London on one side of the river, often get requests to sit on the other side, not so far in miles perhaps, but a good two hour car journey. But perhaps the disappearance of local justice is a tangent too far for this thread, so I'll just simmer down now!
Maz JP
 
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:51 pm

Re: Duty solicitors at court

Postby Spankymonkey » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:14 am

Sorry Maz, we were at cross purposes. I thought there was a reason the magistracy would want a wider diversity on the bench. I didn't realise it was diversity for diversity's sake. I should have known better.
Spankymonkey
 
Posts: 305
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:42 am

Re: Duty solicitors at court

Postby atticus » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:49 am

That comment betrays a complete lack of understanding; it suggests unwillingness to engage and try to understand.
User avatar
atticus
 
Posts: 19932
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:27 pm
Location: E&W

Re: Duty solicitors at court

Postby Maz JP » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:10 pm

atticus wrote:That comment betrays a complete lack of understanding; it suggests unwillingness to engage and try to understand.


It does, with respect to the poster, suggest someone who just wants to win the internet, rather than engage in adult debate.

A shame, since real and perceived diversity in the judiciary (and maybe beyond, into juries) is an interesting subject.
Maz JP
 
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:51 pm

Re: Duty solicitors at court

Postby Spankymonkey » Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:37 am

atticus wrote:That comment betrays a complete lack of understanding; it suggests unwillingness to engage and try to understand.


And your comment betrays a condescension, which is fairly typical of leftist thinking. Just because I disagree, doesn't mean I don't understand.

It does, with respect to the poster, suggest someone who just wants to win the internet, rather than engage in adult debate.


Again, condescending and inaccurate.

Did I accuse you of being immature or unsophisticated at how little you knew about legal representation at the police station in another thread? Was it 'adult' of you to avoid answering the question of how you know that the number of defendants you deal with 'who were not represented in the interview' tends to very much be in the minority? I don't find your style of debate especially 'adult', so forgive me for disagreeing with you yet again Maz.
Spankymonkey
 
Posts: 305
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 8:42 am

Re: Duty solicitors at court

Postby Maz JP » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:33 am

Hmmm. But it does remind me of a joke I heard only last week :

My friends say I am too condescending.


That means I talk down to people....
Maz JP
 
Posts: 333
Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:51 pm

Previous

Return to Crime

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest