News and Comments

The TRUNK June 2021


25 June 2021

MA LGBT+ Group and Pride

The Stonewall rebellion was a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT+ community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York City. Patrons of the Stonewall, other local establishments, and residents of the area fought back when a police raid became violent. The protests that followed are widely considered to constitute one of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT+  rights. 

A year later, on June,28 1970, the first Pride March was held to mark the event in New York City. In the following years, many pride events have come to be held all over the world during the month of June. Designed to champion, commemorate and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, Pride Month has become an increasingly visible presence on the events calendar. The first UK Pride March was held in 1972 and has grown from 2,000 people marching in London to 70 Pride events across the country, engaging millions of people from diverse communities.

The increasing rates of crime against members of the LGBT+ community across the country and the feelings of disempowerment and lack of support from the Criminal Justice System they report, make it clear that there is still a long way to go to achieve real equality. We can of course remain thankful that  members of the LGBT+ community  don’t face the same dangers that others do in some other countries, where simply being an LGBT+ person can lead to much more serious consequences. 

Research has shown that many LGBT+ people have experienced increased isolation and loneliness over the last 15 months, and rates of domestic abuse, along with poor mental health have increased as they have in other parts of society. The LGBT+ Foundation has seen a 30% increase in calls to their helpline during the pandemic as well as higher reported, mirroring other parts of society that are more widely reported.

The cancellation of Pride events due to  the Covid-19 pandemic has been a disappointment for many reasons, primarily because pride allows people from the LGBT+ community to come together to mark Pride month in a safe and accepting environment. But, also because 2021 was destined to have been the first Pride event that the newly established MA LGBT+ Group had planned to attend, following Pride event cancellations last year. Nevertheless, we intend to fly the flag for the magistracy, and show that magistrates do represent the LGBT+ community, although it is likely that we will have to wait until 2022. The group will work with the MA and our members to build on the dialogue that has started. We will develop stronger links with other LGBT+ groups to develop a platform to show that magistrates can and do come from the LGBT+ community, and increase representation.

As with many rights issues, Pride has become a very visible focal point for the demands for equality. It is a positive demonstration of the pride the LGBT+ community has and has helped achieve many of the gains that are now enjoyed by LGBT+ people across the country. Today, the executive of the MA LGBT+ community would like to celebrate that. 

Finally, although the challenges of lockdown and the pandemic will restrict some engagement with colleagues at events, conferences and Pride events, we are still finding ways to talk to our group members. We of course also welcome conversations with magistrates who aren’t members of the LGBT+ community, but would like to get involved in our work.

If you are interested in the work of the MA’s LGBT+ group, please contact any of us for more information.

Members of Magistrates Golfing Society enjoying the best of days

On Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th of June, members of the Magistrates Golfing Society enjoyed a trip to Cheshire to play two lovely courses on one of their back to back outings. They enjoyed lovely warm weather and had some worthy prize winners. The event was superbly organised by Fraser Geekie Cheshire JP.

The magistrates Golfing society is over 80 years old and enjoys membership from most parts of England and Wales. They have a programme of meetings across the country and new members are always welcome. If you join, you will also be able to bring along your partner or guest and they have members who are both serving and retired magistrates.

Their next meeting is on 21 July at Coventry Golf Club against the Law Society.

They also have their AGM and lunch at Newark GC on 28 September.

In the photograph, see Harvey Harrison Captain presenting to winners.

For more information please email Paul Coombes

MA Associate Membership

We have rebranded and relaunched the MA associate membership!

This tranche of membership now offers support, guidance and information to anyone who is interested in the magistracy and would like to learn more about it. In particular, it is a great resource for anyone who is interested in applying to join the magistracy.

New associate membership benefits

All associates will:

  • Receive an associate membership pack upon joining. This will contain useful information for those seeking to learn more about the magistracy
  • Receive MAGISTRATE magazine, the only magazine dedicated to the magistracy and includes topical articles, interviews, training items and briefings; also legal updates, sentencing steps, case digests and guidance on issues relating to the role of magistrates
  • Receive MA newsletters: ENEWS, a fortnightly digital newsletter with regular news update and briefings and the TRUNK, our monthly roundup of branch and member activity across the country
  • Receive a range of other national MA communications
  • Be affiliated to their local MA branch, and
    • Receive communications from their local branch
    • Have the opportunity to attend local branch events
  • Have the opportunity to attend at least one annual webinar targeted at MA associate members
  • Receive communications from the relevant MA Special Interest Groups and attend appropriate events (they will not be able to stand for elections or vote)
     

Anyone who is not currently a sitting magistrate in England or Wales may become an associate member for an annual subscription of £42.50.

If you know anyone who might be interested, please direct them to join us at https://www.magistrates-association.org.uk/Join/Join-Now

Magistrates recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours

The MA wishes to extend our congratulations to our members who were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. We would like to particularly congratulate our former National Chair, John Bache JP on his OBE for his services to the Magistracy and the Administration of Justice.

Fellow members recognised were:

  • Margaret Frances Smith JP BEM – For services to the community in Keighley, West Yorkshire
  • Andrew Sherman JP MBE - For services to Employment and the community in Southampton
  • Pamela Ullstein JP MBE - For services to the Administration of Justice and to Young People

 

Congratulations to all!

Family Court Committee Survey

The MA’s Family Court Committee (FCC) have written a survey which aims to gather information from family magistrate members about the impact of current and potential future use of remote hearings in the family court. Part of the background to this is the failure to secure any recognition of additional costs incurred by family magistrates to sit remotely, concern that this is forcing magistrates with more limited personal financial means to leave the magistracy, and any consequent impact on diversity.

The survey is available here, and will be live until 19 July 2021. Please disseminate to MA colleagues who sit in family court to encourage as many members as possible to complete the survey.

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Zillah Holford

Gwent MA: training and development webinars

Gwent MA has organised a series of seven Zoom webinars, including talks about RSPCA prosecutions and local Trading Standards. The webinars are intended to provide sitting JP’s with some development training and raise awareness of the investigation and prosecution process of other agencies.

These webinars were not only a form of CPD but also used as a means of recruiting new members to the MA.

The webinar presenters from RSPCA Prosecutions discussed animal cruelty and local Trading Standards and Environmental Health Officers, touched on subjects, including Anti-Counterfeiting work, Noise Nuisance, use of Technology and the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The initial webinars planned were open to the whole Bench and the remaining five sessions are only accessible to MA members. To date eight JP’s have joined the MA in order to access the remaining five sessions. 

For more information, please contact Nick Haynes

Oxfordshire MA: social events for summer

Two social events have been organised for this summer, for members of the Oxfordshire MA and partners. These events are to be led by Stephen Barker, an experienced Heritage Advisor, working with many museums and universities.

On 6 July at 2pm there will be an escorted walk around the Battlefields of Cropredy, followed by light refreshments. The royalists were led at this battle by King Charles 1st, at one point the parliamentary forces were in range of killing the King which could have brought the war to an early end. Many land features can still be seen and there are head stones in the churchyard from the causalities of the battle.

On 3 August at 4pm, Stephen will lead a walk around Oxford, stopping at points of interest to explain how important the holding of Oxford was to both sides, and the history of the three sieges of Oxford during the Civil War. This will be followed by meal in a restaurant in Oxford. 

All costs of tours will be meet by Oxfordshire MA apart from the meal in Oxford. Each tour has a maximum of twenty people.

Please email Tania Johnson to book a place or for more information

Coventry & Warwickshire MA: centenary celebration

Coventry & Warwickshire MA Branch is proud to announce a very special event to celebrate 100 years of the Magistrate Association and 100 years of women magistrates.

The event is scheduled to take place in the magnificent medieval Guildhall of Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick, on Saturday 18 September 2021. The keynote speaker wil be the Senior Presiding Judge of England and Wales, the Rt. Hon. Lady Justice Thirlwall DBE. Other speakers lined up include a High Court Family Judge and the MA National Chair.  A celebratory lunch will be prepared by Nic Doughty of NICuisine.

Subject to Covid guidance at the time, tickets will go on sale in July and we anticipate demand will exceed supply - priority will be given to local MA branch members.

Cheshire MA: AGM and members’ meeting

Cheshire MA members are invited to come together virtually for its upcoming AGM and members’ meeting. The meeting will take place over Zoom on 6 November.

All Cheshire and Merseyside magistrates are invited to attend. There will be an interesting mix of speakers including presentations on County Lines Drug Dealing and Domestic Violence. 

For more information, please contact Alan Eyres.

CMJA virtual conference

MA Members are invited to the CMJA Virtual Conference 12-15 September 2021 - "Post-Pandemic Innovations" 

Registration is now open and for more information on the conference and registration form, please click here.

 

 

ATTENTION ALL FAMILY MAGISTRATES!

Family content for MAGISTRATE

We are planning a family themed issue of MAGISTRATE and would like to hear from you which family court topics you would like to see in the magazine.

Features that might be included are: an interview with the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane; the proposal for integrated domestic abuse courts; topics of general interest to the family court, like young people’s mental health, education, troubled families. But we’d like to know which family issues matter to you most. So please get in contact to let us know.

We’d also like to hear from any family magistrate who’d like to contribute to Members’ Spotlight, either by telling their own story in ‘Meeting magistrates’ or for by taking part in the ‘Members’ Q&A’.

If you’d like to take up either (or both!) of these opportunities, please let us know as soon as possible.

To let us know your ideas or to contribute to Members’ Spotlight please contact editor@magistrates-association.org.uk.

500 Club - June WINNERS

1st Prize – Shahin Bekhradnia (Oxfordshire)
2nd Prize – Christine Belton (West Sussex)
3rd Prize –  John Whittaker (Coventry & Warwickshire)

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