News and Comments

The TRUNK October 2020

30 October 2020


To MA 2020 AGM and Awards took place via Zoom on Saturday 17 October. The event was well attended, with 320 registered attendees (an increase of 60% on last year).

The event was recorded. Please click here to view it online.



John Bache JP, National Chair of the Magistrates Association welcomed attendees to the meeting.

Minutes of the 57th AGM

There were no amendments required and the minutes were proposed by Tracy Sortwell JP, seconded by John Stroud-Turp JP and agreed as an accurate record.

Financial Statements and Auditor’s Report for the year ended 30 June 2020

The Annual Report and Accounts for 2019-2020 were presented by Paul Kemp JP. He then proposed them, they were duly seconded by Richard Thomas JP and approved.

Appointment of new Trustees and National Officers

Bev Higgs JP had been elected unopposed as National Chair. Alison Spurgeon-Dickson JP was re-elected as Deputy National Chair and Mark Beattie JP was elected to join her as Deputy National Chair. Three new Trustees were elected – Doreen Huijssoon-Prescott JP, Daniel Longman JP and Patricia Willmott JP. John Bache thanked Louise Fleet JP, Emir Faisal JP and John Stroud-Turp JP for their contribution.

Appointment of Treasurer

Paul Kemp JP was re-appointed Treasurer of the Magistrates Association.

Election of Auditors

Price-Bailey LLP were nominated by the Board of Trustees as auditors for 2020-1. Their appointment was approved.

Motions for debate

The first motion was put to the meeting:

This AGM believes that if an offence is committed before a young person’s eighteenth birthday, their case should be dealt with in youth court, even if they turn eighteen before it gets to court.

Proposer: Linda Logan JP – Central & North London MA

Seconder: Richard Goodacre – North & West Yorkshire MA

The motion was carried overwhelmingly.

The second motion was put to the meeting:

This AGM believes that magistrates who use their own IT equipment for judicial work should not be held responsible for ensuring it meets security requirements.

Proposer: Val Castell - Bristol & North Avon MA

Seconder: Sue Grace – North & West Yorkshire MA

The motion was carried.

There being no further business, the business of the AGM concluded at 11.25am. 


After a short break, attendees were addressed by The Lord Chief Justice, The Rt Hon The Lord Burnett of Maldon. Due to some technical difficulties with the second speaker, this was then followed by Bev Higgs, National Chair, announcing the winners of half of the 2020 Awards. The attendees were then addressed by the second speaker, The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, The Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC.




MIC Education




Coventry and Warwickshire



MIC Community Award






MIC Innovation Award


Buckinghamshire MIC team







Nominated by









MIC Presenter of the Year Award


Debbie Gibbs



Nominated by

Caroline Shorten Conn








Employer Award





Nominated by

Stuart Perkins










Branch Officer of the Year Award


Nicola Hughes


John Taylor


Nominated by

Lisa Peters

Nominated by

Judy Oliver





Coventry and Warwickshire






Retired Member of the Year Award


Sue Jeffs


John Pickersgill


Nominated by

John Taylor / Judy Oliver

Nominated by

Martyn McCarthy



Coventry and Warwickshire





Special Recognition Award


Steve Lucas



Nominated by

Peter McLoughlan











Branch of the Year Award


Coventry and Warwickshire


Greater Manchester


Nominated by

John Taylor

Nominated by

Paul Brearley



Coventry and Warwickshire


Greater Manchester





Inclusion and Social Value Award


Harshad Kumar Patel



Nominated by

Dorothy Higginbottom




South Yorkshire & Wolds



A special acknowledgment was also given to Richard Guy OBE JP for his longstanding support of the MA and has efforts towards furthering outreach and public knowledge of the magistracy and criminal justice particularly community outreach to the BAME, LGBT+, and disabled communities.


The event was closed by an emotional and well received farewell address from outgoing National Chair, John Bache. He handed over to incoming Chair, Bev Higgs, who thanked him for all his efforts.


MA online events

Our next event is an audience with the MA National Chair and Deputy Chairs on 11 November. This is an opportunity to have an informal chat with the MA Leadership.

You may register by clicking here.








1 hour

An evening with the MA Chair and Deputy Chairs

Beverley Higgs JP, MA National Chair 

Mark Beattie JP, MA Deputy Chair 

Dr Alison Spurgeon-Dickson JP, MA Deputy Chair 

Past webinars available

If you missed our previous webinars  – which have included Stalking Awareness for Magistrates presented by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust; civil rights lawyer Maya Sikand discussing disproportionality; the Sentencing Council giving an overview of the new mental health guidelines; and Susan Acland-Hood, Chief Executive of HMCTS discussing the impact of Coronavirus on the courts – they are now available to view online. Please click here to view past webinars.

Greater Manchester MA: unveils plaque to honour first female magistrate

To commemorate Britain’s first female magistrate, Ada Jane Summers, and to celebrate the centenary of the Magistrates Association, a plaque has been erected at Manchester Magistrates Court.

Greater Manchester MA welcomed the High Sheriff, Dr Eamonn ONeal DL to unveil the plaque. John Bache, former National Chair of the Magistrates Association and Paul Brearley, Greater Manchester Bench Chair and Greater Manchester MA, were also in attendance.

Ada Jane Summers JP, was elected as a Liberal party councillor in Stalybridge in 1912. She was then elected mayor in November 1919, where she served until 1921. In October 1920 she was appointed as a Justice of the Peace to the then 'Manchester Bench'. She was the first woman in Britain to do so.

For more information, please click here to contact Paul Brearley 

Derbyshire MA and Nottinghamshire MA: meeting new magistrates virtually

We are all aware of the Challenges that 2020 has brought us, but we must not forget the opportunities too. Derbyshire MA and Nottinghamshire MA joined forces on Friday 25 September, and arranged a 1 hour virtual meeting via MS Teams for all 29 of the new magistrates within the area.

The branches were delighted that John Bache, former MA National Chair and Jo Easton, MA Deputy Chief Executive & Director of Policy & Research were able to join them for the meeting.

As well as being the first time the branches had undertaken a virtual meeting with new magistrates joining the bench; it was also the first event of this type for the MA at a national level.

The branch execs believe that the meeting met the two word mantra of John Bache, “informative and representative”. John Bache gave an overview of the MA and enumerated the benefits of joining the MA, while eight local branch committee members provided the local focus. A fruitful question and answer session covered topics such as how to attract younger magistrates, training events at a local and national level, and the compulsory retirement age of magistrates.

The event was unscripted, allowing for open discussion, and was a way of embracing the opportunities that meeting virtually gives.

Does it totally replace meeting face to face with new magistrates? The branch executives think not.

Does it reduce travel and commitment for participants; and provide a better opportunity to invite individuals from the national team? A resounding YES.

Derbyshire MA and Nottinghamshire MA are grateful for being allowed to take a screen shot showing some of the participants - but because of the limitations of the gallery view on an iPad, not all participants can be seen!

For more information, please click here to contact Deborah Eardley.

Coventry & Warwickshire MA: virtual training event

Coventry & Warwickshire MA members are invited to join a virtual training event taking place on Monday 30 November at 6.30pm.

The meeting will take place via MS teams and will be focussing on the Family Court and Restorative Justice. Attendees will be joined by HHJ Elizabeth Walker, MA Vice President and designated family judge for Coventry & Warwickshire and Mike Bailey and Lorna Cousins from Victim Support.

All Coventry & Warwickshire MA members should have been sent a calendar invite with access to the Teams Link.  Alternatively, you can access the event here.

The last event attracted over 50 MA members so the branch hopes to have a similar attendance this time. All those members who attend will also receive a certificate for their appraisal portfolio.

This event is also open to non-MA members, although the branch encourages everyone to join the MA!

For further information please contact the MA Training Officer, Paul Heathfield 

Coventry & Warwickshire Magistrate awarded MBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Coventry Magistrate Judy Oliver JP has been awarded an MBE in recognition of her judicial and education work.

Mrs Oliver MBE JP who lives in Stoneleigh has served many years in delivering justice across Coventry and Warwickshire and educating young people about right and wrong in a pioneering education workshop.  Judy was put forward for the honour by her colleagues at the Magistrates Association (MA). Judy served as a Magistrate in court for 14 years, before retiring from the Coventry and Warwickshire Bench and continuing the Magistrate workshops in local schools for the MA.

Judy had no idea she was being considered for the Queen’s Birthday Honours and it came as a total shock and surprise.   Judy commented:  ”I am overwhelmed and humbled to be given an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen.  I am delighted that local justice and our educational work in schools which teaches children about the consequences of criminal activities such as drugs, knife crime and cyber bullying, has been recognised in this incredible way”. 

Judy experienced a life changing injury in her 50’s which led to her using a wheelchair.   Her determination and commitment to justice involves leading a large citizenship programme in schools benefitting 1000s of young people each year.  Every year the Magistrates In the Community project visits over 125 primary classes and educates 10 and 11 year olds on knife and cyber-crime, the consequences of those crimes on victims and society, along with British values and the law, rights and responsibilities  and the court system.  98% of the schools she visits evaluate the workshops as Excellent and 100% request further visits.

Judy undertakes about 70 workshops in schools a year.  Each visit consists of a presentation, a discussion and a trial with pupils taking on the different roles and using picture cards to discuss the consequences of the crimes used as examples.  Initially the project delivered around 40 visits a year and under her leadership this has increased threefold to over 120 a year and is still increasing.  Over 3500 young people are educated each year.

The Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire Mr Tim Cox commented  “As the Queen’s representative in Warwickshire I am delighted Mrs Oliver has been given this honour for her  voluntary work in schools which ensures young people learn about right and wrong, crime and consequences and are equipped with a range of citizenship skills for the rest of their lives”

Judy also sits on a Youth Referral Panel for Coventry Youth Offending Team demonstrating a wider commitment to youth justice and education.   Judy was awarded the national ‘Retired Magistrate of the Year’ award in 2017 by the Magistrate Association.

For more information, please contact John Taylor.

Staffordshire MA: AGM

Staffordshire MA will held its AGM on 2 November at 7pm. The event will be online, utilising the Zoom video conferencing platform.

Please click here to request an invitation.  The branch hopes for attendance from HMCTS and MA national office.

Middlesex MA:  Modern Slavery and County Lines

On 6 October, Middlesex MA hosted a Zoom event on Modern Slavery and County Lines.

The branch’s guest speaker was Tamara Barnett, Director of Operations for the Human Trafficking Foundation, who was highly informative.

The 37 members who attended now feel better equipped to spot signs of human trafficking or county lines in Court.

For more information, please click here to contact Roger King.

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.

Listening to them I’ve often thought they deserved a wider audience both within the magistracy and potentially beyond (thoroughly anonymised of course!).

So please do share your stories – of yesterday or yesteryear, BC (before Covid) or mid-pandemic.

They can be as short as you like, but please no more than 500 words unless they really really need it. If you have several stories to send, that’s fine. The more the merrier.

The plan is to feature the best in an occasional slot in MAGISTRATE magazine, and if I receive enough good ones, then potentially in a book anthology as well.

Please include your name and bench (these will not be published – the stories need to be completely anonymous for obvious reasons). By sending your stories you are agreeing to their use, sensibly edited if necessary, for the above purposes.

Please send stories to  I very much look forward to reading them.

Juliet Rix Middlesex MA

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