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MA in the media

Recent media appearances

24 July 2020
MA in the media

MA National Chair John Bache was interviewed in The Times about a number of pressing issues. John suggested that raising the retirement age of magistrates would help to reduce the backlog of court cases, alongside other measures including extending court hours and either-way cases being heard by a judge sitting with two magistrates. He added that ‘There are no ideal solutions but we need to find a way through that is fair and guarantees justice to the people appearing in front of the court’. Speaking about the diversity of the magistracy, he stressed the importance of the bench being representative of the community, emphasising that ‘the magistracy is about local justice’. He also argued that lawyers appearing in the youth court should have specialist training to assist the court in tailoring sentences to help prevent young individuals from re-offending.

The Law Society Gazette reported the MA’s survey results on extended court hours and quoted John Bache in saying ‘urgent action’ must be taken to tackle the backlog, with the need for every option to be ‘on the table’. John emphasised that magistrates are ‘keen to pull their weight’ in helping to deal with the backlog, but that before any proposals for extended court hours can go ahead, the legal profession, court staff and other services must be in agreement on the right way forward. The MA’s position on extended court hours was also quoted in the Daily Telegraph alongside our call for increasing magistrates' sentencing powers from six months to a year’s custody so that more cases can be retained in the magistrates’ courts.

Finally, chair of the Adult Court Committee, Val Castell, was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour following the publication of the Howard League’s briefing on women in remand. Val spoke about how magistrates make decisions based on the evidence they have in front of them and will spend as long as is needed to consider the different alternatives and risks before making a final decision. ‘The more information we’ve got’, Val added, ‘the better the decision is going to be’. Listen here from 34m 5s.

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