Thursday, May 26, 2016

Auld Lang Syne

Reading of the planned closure of Southwark Crown Court took my mind back to the day when I was sworn in there as a JP. The court is situated on the South bank of the Thames, just by the moored HMS Belfast. In fact the ship fills the windows of the jury assembly room.

I shall retire from the bench later this year, but the swearing-in will be a lasting memory.


  1. Just picked up on this proposed closure and the judges are right. Their expertise in these very complex areas must be preserved somehow. Really short sighted by HMCTS unless they have a plan. Doesn't seem they have one though. And I still remember my swearing-in day back in the early 80s. Warmly welcomed by all the judges there on the day. Those memories are precious.

  2. I am slightly ahead of you in that I was 'retired' from the judiciary last week, my mind apparently no longer able to cope with being a magistrate in the view of the Lord Chancellor (although I can still sit on a murder jury until 75).

    I left after 11 years on the bench with mixed emotions - I shall miss the buzz of the judicial system with every sitting bringing something new, and the many friends I have made amongst both colleagues and court staff.

    But I am leaving at the right time - my magistrates' court, in the county town, closes in four weeks as part of HMCTS Estate cuts, just as the same town of 60,000 people has been told it will have to take a further 30,000 new homes by 2030. Do the powers that be presume that nobody of a criminal mind will be moving into the area? Now defendants, witnesses and court-users from the town and its environs will have to travel up to 50 miles to attend other courts. Local justice? Not to this senile mind.

  3. SouthLondon JP31 May 2016 at 09:29

    Happy Retirement Jaguar! And TOJP - I doubt very much whether HMCTS has any real plan in place for our growing communities. Maybe we are to be replaced with robots - who knows. Despite already having 23 years under my belt I still have 12 years to go until I am consigned to the judicial dustbin - no doubt there will a good few more 'cunning plans' laid in that time...

  4. I shall miss you. You are the one blog I check almost everyday. Thank you for making me a bit more optimistic about a portion of the judiciary, though I worry of the rest


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