News and Comments

The TRUNK January 2020

The Trunk: where branches come together

24 January 2020
The TRUNK January 2020

Welcome to the first issue the TRUNK in 2020! We are delighted to be celebrating 100 years of supporting the magistracy.

We look forward to another century of representing magistrates in England and Wales, both active and retired: working to influence key decision-makers; supporting our members with information and training; and promoting public awareness of the magistracy.

To celebrate our centenary this year, a series of activities and adaptations to the organisation’s normal business have been planned – and many are already taking place.

  • We are running a series of ‘past meets the future’ articles in MAGISTRATE magazine, which feature our youngest members interviewing some of our oldest (some of whom are currently aged 100 and over). The first of these ran in the December/January issue and featured Barry Sanders. At 102, Barry had many tales to tell of times gone by. He unfortunately passed away shortly after the interview, but we are so happy that we were able to celebrate his final days. Five further interviews with the most senior members of our fold will be in the next five issues of the magazine, so please look out for them.
  • We are also running a series of articles in MAGISTRATE on the changing face of justice, taking historical look at the legislative and social changes of last century.
  • Branches have been given the opportunity to apply for funding of up to £200 each (or multiples of £200 for collaborations between multiple branches) for activities or events promoting or celebrating the MA centenary. So far, we have granted funding to half a dozen branches.
  • Following our most successful conference to date in scenic Stratford upon Avon, this year’s AGM, conference and awards dinner will be held at the prestigious Plaisterers Hall in Central London on 17 October 2020. This is the first time in six years that the event will be held in the capital. The conference theme will be ‘Looking forward: another century of excellence in justice’. As usual, attendees will have the opportunity to network with magistrates from around the country; hear from key figures in law, government and the criminal justice system; participate in thought provoking breakout sessions; and meet MA officers and staff. We are delighted to announce that the Lord Chief Justice has been confirmed as one of our keynote speakers.
  • Finally, we are planning a 2020 art exhibition exploring the concept of justice. The exhibition will be based on 20 original artworks, commissioned from 20 diverse, contemporary artists, particularly those from BAME & LGBTQIA+ communities and 18-25 year-olds. Five of these places will be ring-fenced for Koestler Arts alumni, former offenders who are now working artists and living examples of the rehabilitative function of art. The exhibition will travel to four cities: Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and London.

With these activities, we aim to raise the public profile of the MA in 2020. We will generate media interest in the activities of the MA and the magistracy, as a whole; encourage members of the public to apply to be magistrates; and encourage magistrates who are not members of the MA to join us.

Even more importantly, however, we want our members across the country to feel a sense of community and ownership of the MA legacy. We want to give you something of which you can be proud!

Jon Collins, Chief Executive of the Magistrates Association

The MA celebrates retired members!

We sometimes hear from members that think they have to cancel their membership because they are retiring from the magistracy. We are very keen to correct this misconception, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

We currently have thousands of retired magistrates as members, who pay a reduced annual membership rate of £37.50. Subsequent to stepping down from the Bench, they have chosen to remain MA members and continue to play active roles within their Branches, ranging from sitting on Branch Executives, to delivering the Magistrates in the Community programme, to attending our well received speaker-led retired member events.

Our popular events for retired members include regional events, the first of which was held in Liverpool in October 2019, as well as the very well attended London based ones. We regularly feature retired members in MAGISTRATE, in both Members’ Spotlight and other articles and hope this is a good way for retired members to keep in touch with everything magisterial. Retired members are included in our email news bulletins MA ENEWS and The TRUNK (although there is the choice to opt out for those who would rather not receive these emails). We provide specific information for retired members, and many branches have retired members’ groups, which meet up on a regular basis (keep an eye on Retired Members’ Notices under Snippets in MAGISTRATE).

Our membership is our strength and retired members are a vital and valuable part of the MA community across the country. This year, as the MA celebrates a fantastic 100 years of serving the magistracy, we also want to celebrate retired JPs. Your years of service and experience are recognised and appreciated by the MA and we will do all we can to continue providing you with relevant information and opportunities.

If you are a retired member with any queries about your membership or additional volunteering opportunities available to retired JPs, please click here to contact us.

Professor Julia West JP awarded MBE in New Year’s Honours List

We are delighted to announce that Nottinghamshire MA member, Professor Julia West has been awarded an MBE in New Year’s Honours List for services to Radioactive Waste Management.

Professor West has a PhD in geomicrobiology and is an independent consultant with over 30 years’ experience working on diverse projects relating to how humans use the geological environment, particularly for waste disposal. She is an Honorary Research Associate at the British Geological Survey and Visiting Professor of Geomicrobiology at the University of Manchester. Until 2013, she was a member of the Radioactive Waste Disposal Team and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Teams at the British Geological Survey and was responsible for a variety projects examining microbial impacts on waste containment. She also developed the BGS Geomicrobiology Laboratory.

Julia is internationally recognised for her broad experience in radioactive waste management and carbon capture and storage initiating ground-breaking geomicrobiology, ecological studies and natural analogue projects in Europe and has recently pioneered cross comparisons between radioactive waste and CCS. She has long experience in international advisory groups and programme committees.  She is the author/co-author of over 200 technical papers, reports, articles, scientific papers and book chapters. She was a British Association for the Advancement of Science Media Fellow working with the BBC Radio Science Unit and continues her work science communication work supporting Fukushima recovery projects.

Professor West has been a member of the Magistrates association for almost two decades. Please join the national MA in congratulating her on this richly deserved accolade!

Plymouth and South West Devon MA: special retirement farewell to Arthur Ainslee

The recent retirement from the Bench of Arthur Ainslee JP was a special occasion at which Captain Simon Martin, High Sheriff of Devon, presented him with a High Sheriff Award in recognition of his valuable services to the magistracy and the local community. Many of his magistrate colleagues had the pleasure of being in attendance.

Since joining the South West Devon Bench ten years ago, Arthur has contributed hugely to the local community, achieving a tremendous amount in a short time. He soon became a Presiding Judge (PJ) in the Adult Criminal court; joined the Family Panel as a PJ; sat on the Plymouth Drug Rehabilitation Requirement Panel and also in the Crown Court.

Arthur also tirelessly volunteered his time and energy to his MA Branch in many ways. He took the lead in local MIC activity, visited many local organisations to speak about the magistracy, and liaised with Plymouth University to set up the mock trials programme.

For more information, please contact Maggie Cardew

Middlesex MA: branch outing and training event on domestic abuse

Training event on Domestic Abuse

On 3 March Middlesex MA is holding a training event on domestic abuse (including coercive control). The branch is delighted to have speakers from Solace, a London based charity offering women advice, advocacy, counselling, support groups, plus family and children’s projects, with the aim of offering a life free from all forms of male Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG); a Domestic Homicide Review Chair; and the London Crown Prosecution Service lead on domestic abuse.

The event will be held at the Doubletree Hotel, 2-8 Hanger Ln, Ealing Common, London W5 3HN. It will begin at 7pm.

Branch outing

On 11 February, the branch has organised an outing to see the Agatha Christie penned production

of ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ at London’s County Hall.

For more information on any of the above, please click here to contact Roger King.

2020 Vision: 100 years of justice

The MA’s first touring art exhibition!

The MA is 100 years old this year and to celebrate we are planning a touring art exhibition exploring the concept of justice, titled 2020 Vision: 100 years of justice. The exhibition will be based on 20 original artworks, commissioned from 20 diverse, contemporary artists and will travel to four cities: Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and London.

The exhibition will be both a retrospective view of 100 years of the history of justice in the UK and a gaze into the future, underpinned by interactive workshops delivered by the artists, MIC presentations delivered by MA branches and talks from a range of experts drawn from government, academia and the third sector.

Back issues of MAGISTRATE magazine chart 100 years in justice and contain a living history of the life and times of England and Wales. This has served as the inspiration for our themes, which are:

  • Rights of the child  
  • Gender and the justice system
  • The role of prison in society
  • Ownership of information
  • Race and criminal justice
  • LGBTQIA+ rights 
  • Freedom of expression  
  • Freedom of association
  • Victims’ rights
  • The concept of justice


The project will comprise three parts:

  • The last 100 years: artwork by 10 artists, inspired by the themes above, exploring key developments of the last century.
  • The next 100 years: 10 artists showcasing their visions for the future of justice, inspired by the themes above.
  • The present: interactive, participatory workshops, talks and MIC presentations, delivered by artists, magistrates and experts from government and the third sector.


Tour dates for 2020 Vision: 100 years of justice




13-29 August


Creative Art Gallery at Hope Mill

3-19 September



24 September - 10 October


To be confirmed

15-24 October


D Contemporary

Look out for a more detailed article on our exhibition in the February-March 2020 issue of MAGISTRATE. If you are an artist or know anyone who is, please click here for more information & details on how to apply.

Coventry and Warwickshire MA: January update

Training event

Coventry and Warwickshire MA’s next training event will take place on 8 February 2020 in the Jury Room at Leamington Spa courts. The event will feature two guest speakers:

  • Her Honour Judge Hilary Watson (Designated Family Judge for Coventry and Warwickshire) on “family court matters”
  • Michelle Salt and colleagues from EMS on “Electronically monitored curfews & demonstration of the equipment”.  

Both speakers will welcome questions and the event runs from 9am to 12 noon. 

Please click here to RSVP to Steve Westwood   

MIC activity

To mark International Women’s Day in March, Coventry and Warwickshire MA’s MIC team is planning a series of special presentations, including to students at Coventry University.  These will include a focus on 100 years of women Magistrates, current recruitment and the role of the court in 2020. 

For further details please click here to contact John Taylor.  

MA Conference, Awards and AGM



We are delighted to announce that our first keynote speaker will be the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, The Right Honourable The Lord Burnett 


To celebrate the MA’s 100th year, the theme of the conference is LOOKING FORWARD: ANOTHER CENTURY OF EXCELLENCE IN JUSTICE.
Following our most successful conference to date in scenic Stratford-upon-Avon, we are delighted to announce that the 2020 Conference, Awards and AGM will take place in the capital for the first time in six years, at the largest and one of the finest livery halls in London, Plaisterers’ Hall. The venue, set within One London Wall, backs on to the remains of the original London Wall, which dates back to the third century when the Romans built it. A fitting setting for an event in the MA’s hundredth year!
As usual, you will have the opportunity to network with magistrates from around the country; hear from key figures in law, government and the criminal justice system; participate in thought provoking
breakout sessions; and meet MA officers and staff.
Speakers and sessions will be confirmed as soon as they are available in MA ENEWS or on the MA website.
NB Members attending the AGM only are not required to pay. Please register interest online or by phone.
If you have any issues, please contact the membership team on 020 7388 5558 or at
Feedback from the 2019 event
95% of attendees rated the overall event as good to excellent
96% rated the awards ceremony as good to excellent
93% rated the dinner as good to excellent

Bedfordshire MA: mini-conference 

The sixth Bedfordshire MA mini conference took place at the Rufus Centre, Flitwick on 18 January.

Conference presentations included:

Sean O Neil, cyber security and fraud expert talking about cybercrime and cyber stalking.

Dr Emma Short, Director of National Centre for Cyberstalking research. Emma highlighted the relationship between cyberstalking and mental health, specifically identifying the impact caused to victims of online abuse.

Duncan Webster, the National  Lead Magistrate, who spoke about the Magistrates’ Executive and his role on it and the steps being taken to address magistrate morale and recruit new magistrates.

The next mini conference is scheduled for 16 May at the same venue.

For more information, please contact John Pickersgill

JP Stories: tell us your tales 

The retiring room is always full of stories - funny, enlightening, bizarre, shocking, heart-rending, and insightful. We listen and laugh, discover - and sometimes despair.

My day job is as a freelance features journalist and so I thought it would be good to gather some of these stories together and give them a wider audience, both within the judiciary and potentially beyond.  I am now collecting stories. I've already had some wonderful ones, but would love to see more.

The plan is to feature the best in a new occasional slot in MAGISTRATE magazine, starting in the New Year, and potentially also in an anthology.

So if you have a good story - or stories – please click here to send it (or them) in.

Please include your name and Bench (these will not be published - the stories need to be anonymous for obvious reasons) along with your story or stories told as succinctly as possible. A maximum of 500 words is requested, unless your story really requires more. 100 words - or indeed 20 - is fine if that is all you need.

By sending your stories to the above address you are agreeing to their use, sensibly edited if necessary, for these purposes.

 If you have a tale worth telling - do share it! I very much look forward to reaching your entries.

Juliet Rix, Middlesex MA  

For more information, please contact Membership

Chair & Deputy Chair Branch Visits
John Bache, Chair

28 March 2020           Northamptonshire MA
3 May 2020      Welsh branches' centenary event 

Alison Spurgeon-Dickson, Deputy Chair

23 April 2020           Berkshire MA

Wessex MA Branch Training Day & AGM for 2020

The Wessex Branch Training Day & AGM for 2020 will be held on Saturday 25th April at Horndean College, Hampshire. Enrolment instructions will be sent out close to the end of March.

For more information, please contact Wessex MA

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