Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here We Go......

Following the summer lull in Government and political activity the Whitehall machine is starting to lumber back into action. Peter Hargreaves points to this announcement which is the beginning of a process of closing and consolidating courthouses. There is a powerful resonance with Dr.Beeching's hatchet job on the railways a generation and more ago. London's courts are managed in a unique way, being hitherto based on the Borough structure, but I think that is a certain goner; there will be fewer and larger courts in the future. That will of course have a big effect on the structure of benches, because there are bound to be mergers. Bigger means more impersonal with management being remote. As it is, my Justices' Clerk has something like a thousand JPs under his wing, so he is a relative stranger to most. I also expect to see a lot of effort being put into videolink cases, which will be a cheap and not very cheerful way of getting more cases through. From my experience of prison videolink hearings I am convinced that a court simply cannot make a proper judgment of evidence and of people without having them before you in the flesh. We shall return to the subject as matters progress. It's going to be messy, I'm afraid.

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