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The TRUNK July 2020

The Trunk: where branches come together

31 July 2020

Nottinghamshire MA: commemorating the centenary of the appointment of the first female magistrates

The Sex Disqualification Removal Act 1919 allowed women to be appointed as Magistrates. On 20 July 1920, the first three women were appointed in Nottingham, sitting at the Guildhall.

They were: Helena Brownsword Dowson, Mary Ball and Caroline Harper; three remarkable women who were pioneers in politics, welfare, education and the women’s suffrage movement.

Local magistrates Cherryl Lacey and Miriam Jackson had both researched these women and wished to mark their achievements with a plaque. Miriam is also a member of the Nottingham Women’s History Society, which supported further research.  

Nottinghamshire MA was pleased to fund this initiative to mark the centenary of the MA.

On 20 July 2020, the plaque was unveiled on the outside of the Nottingham Justice Centre by the Nottinghamshire Bench Chair, Cherryl Lacey.  MA National Chair, John Bache, also attended and spoke about the importance of diversity in the magistracy, praising these pioneering women.  

Central & North London MA: online event on Domestic Abuse

Central & North London MA held an online event on the topic of Domestic Abuse on 1 July. Nicole Jacobs, the recently appointed Domestic Abuse Commissioner for England and Wales, was keynote speaker at the event. 

Nicole shared her reflections on the current lockdown environment and its impact on domestic abuse across the country. The event was also an opportunity to understand more about the role of the Domestic Abuse Commissioner and Nicole's priorities over the next few years.

Central & North London MA found the event will be extremely relevant for many colleagues as they anticipate a future return to court and potentially an increase in domestic abuse cases. The branch recorded the event and has very kindly provided the recording so that all MA members may watch it.

Please click here to view the recording. When prompted to enter a password, please enter the word ‘magistrate’.

If you have any queries, please click here to contact Luke Rigg.

Buckinghamshire MA: MIC during lockdown

Janet Reid and Caroline Shorten Conn delivered MIC via two Teams sessions (one class of 30, which is now split into two bubbles of 15) at Danesfield School in Marlow. It is a Microsoft school and featured in the Microsoft Teams television advert - so the member of staff was very well clued up on Teams which helped enormously! Additionally, as this is a school and teacher with whom the MIC team have previously worked on a number of occasions, everyone was aware of hw sessions needed to be run.

The Branch MIC team emailed the teacher the latest primary school presentation and a mock trial. The children had the presentation on their individual devices and the teacher printed off the miock trial and laid her classroom out in the style of a courtroom.

The lesson plan for 50 minutes was broken down into roughly 10 minutes on the first few slides, 30 minutes on the trial and deliberations, and 10 minutes on sentencing slide and two sentencing scenarios.  

The children could see the presenters onscreen at the front of classroom and the presenters could also see them.  The magistrates ‘retired’ to a separate Teams group to deliberate.

The presenters felt that with year 6, the setup worked very well and the interactions were successful. However, they would not suggest doing this with a ‘new’ school or somewhere where the teacher hasn’t seen the session previously.

Going forwards, the Branch MIC team feels that ‘remote’ MIC sessions are more feasible for secondary schools where they just want a presentation or a talk, or even as an offer to community groups.

If you have any queries, please click here to contact Caroline Shorten Conn.

Cambridgeshire MA: virtual AGM

Cambridgeshire MA held its first virtual AGM (via Zoom) on 27 June. Attendance was good and the branch is considering holding some future meetings this way, even post-pandemic, to reduce travel and costs. Members were updated on the success of the Schools’ Mock Trials competition in Peterborough and the valuable wide-ranging talks and visits undertaken by our MIC team.

Members paid tribute to colleague, Peter Waterfield, who died on 3 April, from Covid-19.  Peter retired from the magistracy in 2019 after almost thirty years serving on the Fenland, North Cambs and Cambridgeshire Benches. He was a great advocate for the youth panel in particular and well-loved and known by those working in courts across the county. Those who knew Peter were not surprised to learn that from his hospital bed he encouraged his company, TES Europe in Wisbech, to continue making PPE for frontline workers.  

If you have any queries, please click here to contact Ann Wade.

Greater Manchester MA: AGM

Greater Manchester MA will be holding its AGM by Zoom conferencing on 7 October at 6pm. More details to follow.

The guest speaker is Alison Mutch, Senior Coroner South Manchester

If you have any queries, please click here to contact Peter Faulkner.

Lincolnshire MA MIC team to work with excluded pupils

Lincolnshire MIC is a small team of about 14 active and retired Magistrates but we seem to do quite well really. Had Covid-19 not interrupted us, we would have achieved 53 school visits up to the end of June at both primary and senior levels, plus taking some Primary schools to the Moot Court at Lincoln University.  Sadly, we are now on hold and we have made the conscious decision to do no ‘live’ MIC activities until at least after next year’s February half-term.

So, we’ve used the spare time we have to venture into something new for us. Lincolnshire has the Springwell Alternative Academies, a group of four schools spread around the county that take pupils who have been excluded from mainstream schools, or who have conditions which are too disruptive to such schools.  When we started talking to them back in late March, we were on a steep learning curve and surprisingly learnt that the age range of each Academy site is from early primary through to year 11. Classes are no more than eight pupils and there is a teacher to pupil ratio of 1:2.   

Some of the pupils are already known to the criminal justice system. It seems like a challenge, but we are comfortable with that.  The senior management team that runs the Springwell Group are as enthusiastic as the teachers about our involvement, one of them saying to us ‘Don’t change or adapt your presentations for us, the pupils need to know the truth.’

The following plan has been agreed with and is supported by the Academies Group. One visit into each Academy site for presentation to years 8 and 9.  A mock trial competition between the four school sites for years 10 & 11, with a final to be at an agreed venue and a visit for the same year group to Lincoln University Moot Court, with whom we already have arrangements for visits outside of University needs.

We really wanted to give these young people the same chances as other mainstream schools, given that they cannot take part in the national Young Citizens Mock Trials simply because there are not enough pupils in a year group to be able to make up a team.  It’s an exciting project which has huge benefits on both sides. As the saying goes ‘every day is a school day’.

If you want to know any more, then we are happy to help if we can.

For more information, or if you have any queries, please click here to contact David Milner-Scudder or Emma Green.

NHS Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison (TIL) Service

NHS Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison (TIL) Service is continuing to deliver Veterans’ Mental Health Awareness training as part of a project funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. However, they are now delivering this in a webinar format via Microsoft Teams.

They would like to invite all magistrates who have not previously attended their training to a free Veterans’ Mental Health Awareness Training webinar for magistrates on Wednesday 2nd September from 10:00 – 12:30 via Microsoft Teams. 

The training aims to raise awareness of veterans’ mental health issues and support veteran-sensitive practice in Criminal Justice System organisations/services across London. The training will include topics such as: military culture, common mental health presentations of veterans, veteran offending behaviours, the role of trauma in offending behaviours, and some skills you can use to support veterans in your work. It will also raise awareness of the services available to veterans including the Veterans’ Mental Health TIL Service and there will be a Q&A at the end of the training.

If you would like to attend this free webinar, please click here to contact Dominika Iluczyk

Coventry and Warwickshire MA: update

COVID-19 support package

Coventry and Warwickshire MA had a great response to its COVID-19 support package from MA members, with retired Magistrates especially benefitting from the offer of practical support.  This was most welcomed by retired members who all received a personal phone call and an offer of help.  Members of the branch undertook shopping trips, hospital transport and social support for those in need, and received several donations in thanks.

Going virtual

Coventry and Warwickshire MA is now planning to go virtual and will be holding a training session and AGM via MS Teams on 29 September, 6.30-8.30pm.  Speakers will be:

  • His Honour Judge Lockhart QC, Coventry and Warwickshire MA President, Honorary Recorder of Coventry and Resident Judge at Warwickshire Justice Centre on the ‘Impact of COVID-19 now, and on the future of the courts’.
  • Chris Woodrow, Senior Legal Manager / Deputy Justices Clerk - West Midlands and Warwickshire, HMCTS providing and HMCTS update on key legal issues and operations.

Both speakers will welcome questions.

The event is free with a training certificate available for attendees’ appraisal portfolios. 

An email with the MS Teams link will be sent to all serving magistrates via Ejudiciary. Retired magistrates, please click here to email John Taylor and request the link.

Papers for the AGM will be circulated by 8 September.  There are still several vacant posts on the Branch Executive so if any member is willing to stand, please click here to contact the Chair, Davinda Janda or email John (as above).

Nominate someone for the MA 2020 Awards

While the current situation has unfortunately made it necessary to cancel all upcoming national MA events, we will still be recognising and rewarding the excellence of our branches and individual members.

The nomination and judging process will remain unchanged. While we are unable to hold an awards ceremony this year, the names of the winners will be published in the October-November issue of MAGISTRATE and shared via our newsletters and website.

Do you know anyone who deserves a Magistrates Association Award? Now is your chance to nominate them and help us give them the recognition that they deserve. We are also happy for people and branches to nominate themselves, so do please feel free to toot your own horn! The categories are:

  • MIC Innovation Award
  • MIC Presenter of the Year Award
  • Employer Award
  • Branch Officer of the Year Award
  • Special Recognition Award
  • Branch of the Year Award
  • Inclusion and Social Value Award

Our branches and individual members work tirelessly, taking on additional roles when you already volunteer so much of your time as magistrates and we are delighted to continue with this annual opportunity to show our appreciation of the amazing work that members do. Nominations will close at midnight on 31 August. Click here for more details.

MA Special Interest Groups

Launch of the MA Magistrates with Disabilities Special Interest Group

The MA is working to recognise and bring together MA members who are also members of groups we believe to be underrepresented within both the MA and the magistracy as a whole. We are forming Special Interest Groups (SIGs) which will allow these members to network and discuss issues specific to them.

Each SIG will be tailored to the group it represents. The first of these to be launched was the Young Magistrates Special Interest Group (YMSIG), which was formed in consultation with young magistrates. It was launched in April 2019 and has undertaken a series of successful activities over the course of the last year. The MA LGBT+ SIG was launched in December 2019.

Our third SIG is the Magistrates with Disabilities SIG (MWD SIG), which was launched on 13 July 2020.

As detailed in the SIG terms of reference, we are now seeking to elect an MA MWD SIG executive comprising a chair and two deputies. The process for this is as follows:

  • Please click here for role descriptions and application forms for MA MWD SIG executive. Eligible members are invited to put themselves forward for the roles by 16 August 2020.
  • If, for any role, there is only one applicant that person will be elected and confirmed in post on 21 August 2020.
  • Should there be more than one applicant for any role, the applicants’ details will be sent to all MA MWD SIG members on 21 August 2020, along with a digital ballot, for them to cast their vote by 10 September.
  • 14 September: all members of the MA MWD SIG executive will be announced.

YMSIG seeks regional leads

The YMSIG wants to continue to grow by developing strong, regional links around England and Wales. They are recruiting seven regional leads.

Please click here for a role description, which sets out the purpose of the role and the vacancies per region.

If you are interested in applying to the regional lead position, please complete the application form, setting out your reasons for applying and what you hope to achieve in the position in no more than 500 words. Please submit your completed application to by 2 August 2020. Successful candidates will be appointed by a panel made up of the YMSIG executive and MA staff.

If you have any questions about the role or the process, please feel free to get in touch via

The MA LGBT+ Group first meeting

The group executive hosted a ‘meet and greet’ style webinar for members of the group on 30 July. It was an opportunity to have an informal discussion with the LGBT+ Group executive about how they could develop and take the group forward. It was very well attended.

If you would like to know more about any MA Special Interest Groups, please contact us on

Please note that you must be an MA member and have completed the MA Equality and Diversity Monitoring Form to join an MA SIG. Please click here to complete the form if you have not already done so. You will need to be logged into your MA account.

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  

Chair & Deputy Chair Branch Virtual Visits 2020

John Bache, Chair

25 June 2020      Shropshire MA

11 September 2020           Shropshire MA
7 October 2020      Greater Manchester MA

500 Club - July WINNERS

1st Prize – Graham Harrison (Buckinghamshire)
2nd Prize – Graham Rowland (South & West Devon)
3rd Prize – Francesca Nowne (East Sussex)


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