Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Crombie Straitjacket

Part of the incessant drive to reform courts' administration is to rationalise the number of Justices' Clerks. These office-holders are the rump of a fine cadre of professionals who used to act as court managers and as advisers to magistrates. After successive thinning-out exercises about 70-something JCs remain, and there are plans to reduce their number still further to just over 50. Unfortunately there is a Civil Service agreement called Crombie, named, I suspect, after the person who was unwise enough to sign it, that provides for enormous levels of compensation for JCs and their deputies who find their posts abolished. A judge described it to me as one of the most expensive mistakes ever made by a civil servant. Let's see how HM Courts' Service gets round that one.

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