Monday, May 11, 2015

New Face

So Michael Gove has been handed the Justice portfolio in succession to the unloved Chris Grayling. I wish him well and I shall reserve my judgment until he has started on the many tasks that face him. He is, by all accounts highly intelligent; I just hope that he can find the subtlety and balance that the job will require.

This article by the excellent Joshua Rozenberg sets the Human Rights issue into context. The HRA has never impinged on any decision that I have been called upon to make (although every magistrate had to do a day or two's training on the Act). The HRA has caused fury in the offices of the Daily Mail and its fellow right wing papers as well as among the unreconstructed Right of the Parliamentary Tories. I see the abolition as a bone thrown to these slavering hounds - I cannot in truth see that its abolition will be of more than symbolic importance. More urgent, in my view, is to do something about Grayling's bullying and callous legacy of court charges before the unpaid imposts get out of hand.

11 comments:

  1. "Grayling's bullying and callous legacy..."

    I don't think you're going to like his replacement then - plenty of teachers would say much the same about Gove. Ideologically-driven claptrap of the highest order, rather than what actually works but doesn't fit the party line, and damning all those who dared to offer proof that he might not be entirely correct. (No, I'm not a teacher).

    Graham

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    1. Gove was of interest to those of us who worked in the Scottish education system, although the two systems are separate. On the whole we found his reforms worthy of note and not just because Gove attended a state school in Aberdeen which set him apart from his cabinet colleagues. If by ideologically-driven claptrap, you refer to his commitment to raising standards for working class kids who he felt were given a lousy deal in the English state system, then you may have a point. Needless to say, Cameron wasn't particularly interested in Gove's reforms and took the easy course. Interesting times ahead.

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  2. I can't help but feel that there is a certain logic to appointing an already very unpopular politician to be the hatchet man for legal aid.

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    1. Too late - the damage has already been done. We have criminal solicitors closing down all around us.

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  3. Let's give the guy a chance. Who knows he may well be very bloody good at it.

    There is one thing for certain our courts these days hardly deliver justice as most people think of it. The procedure is unwieldy, the law is far too complex, it costs too much and takes too long. Years of fiddling at the edges has produced a very top heavy, disjointed system- both in the criminal and civil courts. Tinkering will not produce a solution. What we need is a fundamental reform and have cases dealt with at the right level, for a reasonable cost, in a reasonable time frame. That means we have to change and change radically. Technollogy will have to be exploited and work redistributed. A reconstituted lower court whether its called the Magistrates or District court does not matter but it needs to change and be given more powers so that more cases can be dealt with cheaper, quicker and fairer. This might be unpalatable to some but it has to happen. I hope Gove has the balls to do it

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    1. I agree, give the guy a chance

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  4. Regarding the HRA, it appears to me that the intention is return to where we used to be in 2000 with a national Supreme Court (like the House of Lords), but with a Bill of Rights which will look very much like the ECHR.

    Sounds to me rather like the USA.

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  5. " I cannot in truth see that its abolition will be of more than symbolic importance."

    Could not be more wrong. Please see the numerous blog and articles on this topic. Also, the devolved governments do not see this as symbolic. For example, ENFORCEABLE human rights are key to the political settlement in Northern Ireland.

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  6. "Intelligent" you say? The man who thought every school could be 'above average'

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  7. "He is, by all accounts highly intelligent" So the Press claim. Totally unrelated of course to the fact that he used to be a journalist.
    It won't be long before he describes the whole of the legal profession as The Blob.

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  8. As I recall, back in early 2000 every Magistrate did a course on the Human Rights Act. The "requirement" (more of a "request" really) to do this course did not last and I don't believe that such courses are even offered now. Please inform me if this is wrong.

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