Thursday, March 26, 2009

What's The Matter With These People?

The Times reports today that the Council of Circuit Judges have, like the Magistrates' Association, condemned the Government's latest salami-slicing tactic to limit judicial discretion in the search for an illusory ideal of 'consistency'. The Sentencing Guidelines Council, which is barely into its stride, may be locked into a new rigid framework that will allow ministers to exert indirect pressure.
That's the problem you see: it's all done by a ministerial and Civil Service carve-up, and slipped through Parliament in one of the portmanteau 'justice' bills that have been such a feature of this Administration. If Straw came clean, and went to Parliament with a White Paper then a Bill to limit judicial discretion and to increase ministers' power to influence the courts (and so please the tabloids) he would have a hard time, and probably lose his Bill.
So once again we may have to rely on the Lords to save us from these measures that are plain wrong, and can only lead to injustice.

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