Monday, October 04, 2010

New Term

Every bench is obliged to hold its AGM about now, to transact the important business of electing its officers and committees, and drawing a line under the old year as we look forward to the next. Those elected take office on the 1st of January. This year my bench has elected a new set of faces, as last year's officers have all stood down. There are differences of practice across the country, but our setup of a Chairman and three deputies is pretty common. Only one of the four has previous experience of being a Bench officer, which will allow a fresh start to face the challenges of a year of likely radical change. The new Chairman will go on a three-day residential course run by the Judicial Studies Board at Madingley near Cambridge. The course is made up of lectures discussions and practical exercises to prepare the new Chairmen for their duties, many of which are laid down by law, and there is an important opportunity to socialise and discuss current issues with their peers - and there are a lot of current issues.
Everything will now be in limbo until the Government announces definitive spending plans later this month. We have a pretty good idea of what is likely to happen in London and the new boys will have to devote themselves to making the whole thing work. As an old hand I shall offer my full support to my new Chairman but take good care not to get under her feet.

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