Saturday, January 08, 2005

Pissups and Breweries

Once upon a time, every town of any size had a magistrates' court. They had a Clerk to the Justices who has been described as a cross between a butler and a family solicitor. Local people dealt with local malefactors.

Then efficiency beckoned. Courts were amalgamated, so that in rural areas users might have to drive 40 miles each way to court. So did Police and lawyers and Council Social Workers, and all the rest of them, so the costs saved by amalgamating courts were passed to other agencies and to the public.

London was expensively reorganised under the Greater London Magistrates' Courts Authority (snappy, eh?). The GLMCA planned to close and flog off some courthouses, and use the cash to build whizzy new ones. Every single closure was vetoed by one means or another leaving the grand plan wrecked. It didn't matter though, because a couple of years into the GLMCA's life it was decided to set up HerMajesty's Court Service (well, at least they didn't call it Consignia) and the GLMCA will die unlamented on the 31st March 2005.

Nearly all of the people in the system expect the new setup to be at least as useless as the GLMCA. But by the time this becomes apparent, the perpetrators will have collected their gongs and their pensions and retired.

The boss of HMCS is a former male nurse.

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