A week or so ago I wrote, reasonably seriously, about a half baked plan to have Magistrates Courts set up in shopping malls – an idea that The Magistrates Association appears to have retreated from.
Unfortunately, another even less baked idea has been put forward by a magistrate… as reported in The Guardian today. I am grateful to @BristolRed for the tip off to The Guardian report.
The Guardian reports: “Any takers for the justice bus? This unlikely sounding proposition, a mobile court travelling far-flung parts of the country dispensing justice, was floated recently, along with the idea of “pop-up” courts in supermarkets.
Both were suggested as ways of preserving local justice in the face of the huge court closure plan. Ministers want to save £15.3m by redrawing the justice map and closing 157 magistrates and county courts.
…. “As for the justice bus, a Norwich JP, Diana Reid, has in mind a decommissioned double-decker to take justice to remote communities. In a recent article for the Magistrates Association magazine, she describes the Tardis-like properties of the vehicle: “Upstairs are the supporting admin staff, and a separated area for the lawyers. On the lower level the space is divided into a very small waiting area; the ‘court room area’ and a very small ‘retiring area’.” Quite; there’s not much room for dignity, let alone anything else.”
It might be a good idea for Ken Clarke, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice to have a look at some of the people who are magistrates as part of his review of criminal justice – if these ideas are popping into the minds of those who are dispensing justice on the cheap?
Twitter often comes up with a pithy comment and I think @djhanks has hit the nail on the head with this one worder tweet….