Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Public Face of Justice -Poll

Essex JP, a regular commenter, has posted this:

Utterly off the point and my apologies Bystander, but what a miserable and depressing piece of concrete architecture Redbridge Mags Court is. It beats the portacabins Cambridge Mags Court had in the park and ride carpark a few years ago.

So what do experienced court users, be they magistrates, clerks, lawyers, defendants, or whoever think of their local court? And its staff? And its magistrates? Praise and criticism will be equally welcome. Inevitably, I know London courts best, but what about everyone else?

For myself - Brent is newish, shiny, and awful, with an echo in each of its courtrooms that I have sat in, plus drab and dispiriting retiring rooms. Harrow was shabby but friendly, and is now closed. Feltham is a former music hall (yes, really) and has an eccentric layout including a retiring room that was obviously the old box office at one time. Highbury Corner is chilly grey concrete. Bracknell is a grotty little suite of rooms in a scruffy shopping centre; the waiting room that I sat in struck me as an East German one might have been in about 1953.

Any offers?


Apropos Highbury Corner, I sat in a traffic court in a largeish cupboard right at the top of the building. It was an early 'gateway' court and we were faced with 320 cases. Many defendants attended, and were forced to sit on the floor in the corridor outside. We managed to do all of those attending by 5.45, when we block adjourned everything else. There was nowhere to retire to except another corridor, and the coffee and the loos were two floors down. Not good.

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