News and Comments

Magistrates' sentencing powers set to increase from six to 12 months

Lord Chancellor announces major change to help tackle Crown Court backlog

In a major success for the Magistrates' Association, the Lord Chancellor has announced the government's intention to increase magistrates' sentencing powers from six to 12 months for a single offence. This is a move that the Association has long argued for to help ease the pressure in the Crown Courts, which are facing unprecedented backlogs.

New MA paper makes a splash

MA research on the support employed magistrates require stimulates much-needed conversations

MA research on the support employed magistrates require to overcome the difficulties they face volunteering in this important civic role stimulates much-needed conversations among politicians, the judiciary and the media.

Blog post: Magistrates hear 90% of criminal cases, slashing their resources will not help reduce the backlog

A response to Transform Justice

Transform Justice recently suggested reorienting existing resources from the magistrates’ courts to the Crown Court. The call to reorient resources would undermine work of the magistrates’ courts which has successfully worked to reduce the backlog in the magistrates' courts. 

Blog post: Transparency is welcome but it won’t be achieved without more resources

Chair of the MA's Family Court Committee, Tracy Sortwell, welcomes announcement on transparency but calls for more resources to make it a reality

In this blog post, Tracy Sortwell discusses the benefits that greater transparency can bring to family justice but notes that these benefits will only be realised if resources are invested in the family justice system.