Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Dog That Didn't Bark In The Night

There has been a total lack of any significant debate on the criminal justice system in the election 'campaigns' so far.In a way I am relieved, since in the heat of a campaign the only ideas likely to emerge would be stupid or vicious or both. Instead the parties are trying to buy our votes with improbable amounts of our own (or our grandchildren's) money. Depressing.


  1. Yes, the NHS must be 'saved' at any cost, and if that means funding it at the expense of our once proud legal system then that's OK.

    It's a simple enough strategy. Most people won't pass through the justice system whereas all of us will need the NHS at some point. It makes the NHS something that matters to the electorate in a way that the justice system never has. There will come a time, perhaps in the not too distant future, when the electorate will wake up to what's been happening to justice and by then it will already be too late. We celebrate Magna Carta yet we impose changes that make it harder for people of limited means to obtain justice.

    You're absolutely right about it being kept out of the campaign though.

  2. It's only a matter of time before post-conviction defendants are required to pay an NHS Surcharge.

    AIn't no votes in justice.


  4. Thanks for that. Reading it, it does suggest to me that our (those in the courts) own inactions have in part condemned us. Our own habits of being too judicial, of thinking on all sides of the question. How reasonable are we? And with what dire results!

    Consider : if Bob Crow had led the Bar Council, or the Law Society or the Magistrates' Association do you think that our legal system would still be suffering the death of a thousand cuts?

    That's what Justice desperately needs now, a demagogue to fight her corner. Isn't it sad that people whose profession is advocacy for a cause can't come together to advocate that their profession is essential to our society's well-being ?

  5. There are no votes for any party in saying they will make things easier for criminals.

    After the recent introduction of the absurd criminal courts charge it's hard to know what more any party could do to link crime and government debt.

  6. Since there is no justice there is no point talking about it.

    It is true LA has been savaged but to some extent that has been the fault of the greedy who have milked the system dry. That is not for a moment to decry the good work done by many. We need a rebalancing of costs so that the limited money can be spread properly.

    If your accused of a crime and you manage to get off or it is not proved you should not be bankrupted in the process.

    The equality of arms principle seems to be forgotten.

  7. "There are no votes for any party in saying they will make things easier for criminals. "

    People accused of crimes - there's a difference.


  8. In any election the trending issues will prevail and that's why politicians concentrate on certain areas and less on aspects that are less likely to gain votes. It has alwayd been this way and will be in future elections.

  9. Worryingly, there have been several coded messages that the Justice budget will be subjected to further swingeing cuts. Whilst certain areas such as NHS spending are either ring-fenced in various party manifestos, or undertakings have been given to either maintain or even increase spending in those areas, the flip side of the coin is that this increased spending has to be paid for from somewhere, and all the main parties (with the exception of the SNP) have acknowledged more or less openly that there will be additional reductions in welfare spending, but the inescapable logic of the sums is that some of the extra money needed will have to come from the courts budget. So, whilst I share your relief that it hasn't been the subject of much of the increasingly rather hysterical pre-election rhetoric, which could only be damaging, I still fear greatly for the future. Not the least of my concerns is the appalling courts charge, but my worries go much further, and include the fatal undermining of a functioning defence community and the growing injustices in access to the family courts, meaning children's interests can no longer truly be said to be paramount, but rather whether or not a parent or parents can afford to seek arrangements in the children's interests through the courts.

  10. Isn't it time that we recognise that a civil society is a jigsaw and that all the pieces fit together. The NHS always comes top of the list for special treatment but by and large that is a position that is arrived at on the basis of emotion and not rational thought. Yes, health is important but so, and equally important are other aspects of our national life. The justice system is one of the jigsaw pieces that is overlooked or denigrated. Those of us who work in the cps need to make it clear that this is a vital part of a decent civil society that needs proper funding.


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