The TRUNK June 2019

The TRUNK: where branches come together

21 June 2019
The TRUNK June 2019

Meet our Interns


In light of it having been Volunteers Week at the beginning of June, we are taking this chance to celebrate and say thank you for the fantastic contribution of the MA interns at HQ!

Our current interns, Eli Hayward and Maxwell White, are on semesters abroad from the University of Missouri and Purdue University, respectively, in the United States. Their experience in a professional environment alongside their classes in London, will count to their final grade. They are fitting in wonderfully here at head office!
To find out more about them, we have asked them a few quick fire questions.

Introducing Eli Hayward

Where and what are you studying?

I am studying Philosophy and Psychology at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

What expectations did you have of London, and for your internship?

For London, I expected a very busy city with lots of tasty, multi-cultural food and more exciting things to do than back home (Missouri). For my internship, I expected an office environment and to work closely with the British criminal and family justice system. Everyone is so nice here and gets along so well!

What has been your favourite experience whilst working at the MA so far?

Definitely going to the magistrates’ court and seeing an afternoon of court proceedings. Having witnessed trials in the United States, it was fascinating to compare the different methods of delivering justice.

What do you think has been the most valuable part of your experience so far?

I think the most valuable thing has been learning how to function properly in an office environment. From writing professional emails to good office etiquette. I feel that this experience has prepared me greatly for future jobs.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I really like to play the guitar and write music. I also like to hike and explore nature, and play and watch football.

In that case, what football team do you support?

Liverpool. My favourite player is Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Have you been anywhere in the UK apart from London and what did you think of it?

Not yet, but I have trips to Cambridge, Bath, Brighton and Stonehenge planned. Which I am really looking forward to!

If there were one thing you could take back to America with you from England, what would it be?

The football culture. In America, we have the MLS and that is under-whelming in comparison to European football.

Tea-lover or hater?


Favourite British Crisp?

Flamin’ Hot Monster Munch

Introducing Maxwell White

Where and what are you studying?

I am studying Economics at Purdue University.

What expectations did you have of London and how has it compared?

I honestly did not think England would be that different but I came here and it was a completely different culture. I expected a big city life similar to New York City, which it is in some ways but then there is also a completely different culture!

What has been your favourite experience whilst working at the MA so far?

Definitely visiting the magistrates’ court, that was really cool. I feel that was the closest thing to my interests and what I want to do in the future, which is study Law.

What do you think has been the most valuable part of your experience so far?

Learning how to work in a completely different culture whilst working in a fluid way, so juggling both those things and making it work.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I go to baseball games all the time, so that is one thing I miss about the States! I also golf and love hanging out with my friends.

Have you been anywhere in the UK apart from London and what did you think of it?

I have been to Wales, where I hiked up Snowden. I have also been to Bath and Stonehenge. By far, my favourite was hiking in Wales, it was nice to get out of the city and experience a different aspect of the UK.

If there were one thing you could take back to America with you from England, what would it be?

The amount of things you can do in London and the amount of things available to you. That is something I wish I could bring back with me.

Tea Lover or hater?


Favourite British crisp?

Cheese and Onion Walkers

To find out more about CAPA interns, please go to

To find out more about IEA interns, please go to


Northumbria MA: June activities

Dealing with Mental Health Issues in Court – a joint Northumbria MA/HMCTS Training Event



On 5 June, over 40 JPs had the opportunity to hear about the role of the Custody Liaison and Diversion Team; revisit the content of the mental health diversity training modules as led by a Northumbria MA MIC presenter; listen to the experience of a district judge about the use of intermediaries, ground rules hearings, and the court’s powers using the Mental health Act including warrant applications; and to more fully understand the role of the NPS and BASS in relation to bail and sentencing options.

The information-packed session provoked many questions and a buffet supper provided for further networking with, and questioning of, a wide range of involved professionals. Northumbria MA would like to thank national office for the discretionary grant which made the event possible, MA National Deputy Chair Alison Spurgeon-Dickson for her attendance, the speakers from partner organisations who all did an excellent job, and HMCTS for their support in organising this excellent joint event.


Annual General Meeting


Eleven members attended the second AGM of Northumbria MA on 8 June, in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Membership Matters – Halita Obineche, Director of Membership Services, MA

Following on from the usual formal business, the Branch was delighted to welcome Halita to share with them information on all the work she has undertaken and is planning to deliver on in order to refocus the work of the MA in support of its members.

Attendees were particularly interested to hear about plans to establish Special Interest Groups, which will hopefully help the organisation to understand the needs of underrepresented groups within the magistracy, so that strategies to encourage recruitment and retention can be better informed. A useful discussion about how to motivate members to engage with the work of the Branch and MA more widely was had. It was clear that Halita is passionate about her mission and Northumbria MA wish her and her small team all the very best in their endeavours.


Fire Safety Enforcement – Richie Rickaby, Head of Fire Safety, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service



Attendees then heard about the geographical, social and commercial makeup of the area covered by, and the wide ranging roles and responsibilities of, the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service. They learned about how the service’s strategic community safety and integrated risk management plans mitigate the risks identified in the community risk register, and how technological advances have assisted the service’s work. The relevant pieces of legislation together with the inspection, investigation and prosecution procedures used were explained.

The magistrates were surprised to hear that less than a handful of prosecutions take place each year and examples of these were shared with them. The service’s approach of risk assessment focused on inspection and working with individuals, businesses and organisations to improve fire safety standards, thereby preventing fires, has proved successful. As such, JPs are more likely to see a prosecution for assault on a fire-officer than one relating to fire safety.

London Legal Walk


On 17 June, the MA Team took part in the 2019 London Legal sponsored walk.

Our team comprised: Jon Collins, Bea Crayford, Douglas Dowell, Jo Easton, Sarah McLaughlin JP, Halita Obineche, Hattie Stair, Alan Vincent JP, Lisa Whitehead, Angelina Williamson, Susan Williamson and Jude Zendle. The team was also joined by Allie, the MA dog, who maintained an impressive level of excitement for the entire event!

We raised a record breaking £1,005 this year and would like to say a big thank you to all of our sponsors. See you next year! 




Gillian Arnold JP, North & West Yorkshire MA

‘Bradford hosted a visit from a group of law students from America. They really enjoyed the visit and some of them sent personal thank you messages.

‘I thought it was a great compliment to our British Justice System, especially at times when some of our magistrates may have low morale!

‘I certainly felt extremely proud of the way our Court System works and it was a pleasure to tell them all about it.’

Selection of students' comments:

Dear Ms. Arnold,

My name is Hannah Reed, and I was part of the Rutgers University group that you escorted through the Magistrate's Court last week. I truly enjoyed the tour and the court proceedings that we were able to witness. Your in depth discussions with the group, your explanations about court procedure, as well as your information into the possible rulings were insightful. Thank you for your time in planning the tour, and your expertise in teaching us about the local justice system of England.

Apart from your personal contribution, I enjoyed your tour above many of the other educational aspects of this trip due to its connection to my professional ambitions. I hope to be a lawyer in the future. This made seeing how the criminal system in another country more interesting, and having an insider's perspective on the legal proceedings was invaluable. Thank you again for your time and effort in arranging our tour.


Hannah Reed


Ms. Arnold,

Thank you for talking to our class about the magistrates’ court! You went really in depth into how magistrates consider a defendants past or circumstances when considering what sort of punishment to give them. I like that you are so caring and, as a whole, it seems like rehabilitation is the goal for a defendant more than an intense punishment so they "learn their lesson".

You were also very adamant about mental health and talked to us a bit about taking care of ourselves by putting away our phones for a bit each day and just letting ourselves unwind from everything which is advice I will definitely be taking home with me! It was really meaningful to hear how much you care.
Thank you for arranging for our visit, speaking with us, and letting us sit in on some different cases. It was all so cool.

Thanks again,

Mercury Zimmer


Dear Mrs Arnold,

My name is Danielle Williamson and i am a part of the American university group who had the pleasure of embarking on a visit to your Magistrates court. In the US we don't have a magistrates’ court which made visiting yours an interesting event. The introductory talk that was had before watching court opened my eyes immensely and gave reasons as to why I enjoyed the visit. First account stories were told about cases and it made me realize that in the UK there is a huge emphasis on rehabilitation while in the US many could agree with the notion that punishment is frequently the main goal.

When we spoke of the death penalty and life sentences which are common occurrences in the US it amazed me how negatively and rarely such things were encountered. Just the fact that individuals are viewed as human beings who have simply made a mistake is an amazing thing because it allows the person to move on and overcome such negativity. I feel as though things would be much better in the US if such an interpretation of criminality was adopted.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed the visit and relay my sincerest gratitude for being allowed such an opportunity.

Thank you,

Danielle Williamson


Hertfordshire MA: AGM


On 6 June, members of Hertfordshire MA met for their AGM in the University of Hertfordshire's law faculty building.

As the A1 was closed due to a serious road accident and the surrounding roads were soon congested, a number of colleagues were unable to attend and, in the event, there were 26 members present. Following a light supper, the meeting commenced.

The reports were accepted and those members elected as officers announced. The Branch still requires a Chair, but no nominations were forthcoming. Four members were elected as Vice Presidents for Life.

MA Director of Membership, Halita Obineche, gave an update on what the MA is doing in terms of membership, the database and website, the establishment of Special Interest Groups and MiC support.

Following the meeting, HH Michael Baker CBE QC DL, sometime resident judge at St Albans, gave an excellent talk about the judicial oath and its implications for magistrates. He looked in detail at the words and dug into their meaning, commenting on what they meant practically in the courtroom. Leah Bretton led a vote of thanks.

The second scheduled speaker, who was a CPS prosecutor and was to speak on knife crime and county lines was caught in the traffic turmoil and was unable to attend.

If you would like more information about the event or might be interested in putting yourself forward as Branch Chair, please click here to contact Stephen Pam.



Malcolm Smith JP, North and West Yorkshire MA: proactive justice for victims


‘We spend a lot of time considering how best to reform and rehabilitate offenders, but this session is a wonderful opportunity to put the spotlight on victims.

‘It is a quick fire run through 20 scenarios which face victims and it provokes a lively discussion of what magistrates can do to put them first. Scenarios range from fundamental worries e.g. "What if the defendant finds me and hurts me?" to lesser matters which nevertheless cause real concern when a court appearance is looming e.g. "what if I just dry up and can't speak when everybody is looking at me?".

‘Some of the scenarios address victim's hopes e.g. a victim of upskirting wants to know how we can protect her from the offender, so she can travel on her usual bus to work without worrying about seeing him again. The presenter, Janet Carter uses experiences from her own life to bring it all alive - and delegates left inspired to do more for victims.’

If you are interested in having a session of this run in your local area, please click here to contact Janet Carter, HMCTS Legal Training Manager (North East).


Lisa Whitehead, MA MIC, Event and Membership Manager at the 2019 Mock Trial Finals


The Magistrates' Court Mock Trial competition is for 12-14 year olds from non-fee paying schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It has been running since 1994 and annually involves over 4,000 students from over 270 schools and 1,700 legal professional volunteers across over 40 magistrates’ courts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The students take on the various roles in a trial and try a case against another school with the assistance of real life magistrates, legal advisers, court staff and other legal professionals. The project is delivered in collaboration with the Magistrates Association and forms part of the Young Citizens ‘citizenship experiences’, which help to improve young people’s life skills, their understanding of the justice system, and how the law touches every aspect of their lives.

I was lucky enough to attend the National Mock trial finals on 15 June at the Royal Courts of Justice. It was heartening to see teen so excited about the judicial system – and some of them took it all very seriously!

I had no specific role, so I was able to view different cases in different courts. I was also able to visit the improvised ‘retiring rooms’ to see the reasoning behind the (very) young magistrates’ rulings. The groups that I saw were extremely well prepared and keenly intelligent. It was a delight to watch them work together to reach their decisions. 
The MA was well represented as, in addition to myself, the Chair and one of the Deputy Chairs of our newly formed Young Magistrates Special Interest Group, Katherine Sirrell and Luke Rigg (pictured), and the MA National Chair, John Bache, were in attendance.

The Mock Trials could not take place without volunteers from the magistracy, so thank you to all of those who put in so much time and effort to be part of this. 
Congratulations to all of those who made the final, and a special congratulations to Ranelagh School from Berkshire for winning the final!

For more information on the Mock Trials, please click here to go to the Young Citizens website.


Middlesex MA: training event on recent sentencing guidelines 


On 24 September, Middlesex MA will be holding training on the recent sentencing guidelines. The event will start at 6pm and take place at Uxbridge Magistrates Court.

Ruth Pope, a member of the Sentencing Council, will provide attendees with an overview of the role of the Council and sentencing guidelines. She will be followed by District Judge Debbie Wright speaking on knife crime.

This event is JTAAAC approved and refreshments will be provided.

All members are welcome. Click here to contact Sunil Lakhani for more information or to book a place.


Somerset MA AGM


On 5 June, Somerset MA held its AGM and Annual Training Day. The event was attnded by 68 magistrates from Somerset, Avon and Gloucester.

Richard Curry , Somerset MA Chair, welcomed the Branch’s two new Vice Presidents, HHJ Paul Cook and HHJ Liz Ingham. Then AGM matters were followed by an address by John Bache, MA National Chair, concerning the future of the magistracy. Delegates found his talk both reassuring and encouraging .

Four workshops were held during the day, on a range of topics: transgender and equality issues , digital forensic evidence, mental health of defendants and legal loopholes. The executive committee received positive feedback about the day and , after a deep intake of breath , are already thinking about the 2020 event!

For more information on this, please  click here contact Tish Johnson.


Central & North London MA: cybercrime and the dark net

On 21 May, Central & North London MA members enjoyed a training evening, focused on cybercrime and the dark net. A detective constable and cyber security adviser from the Met Police ran an interactive session to better inform members about the proliferation of cybercrime and fraud.

The event provided an overview of the techniques offenders are utilising and what can be done to maintain personal security, including strengthening passwords, limiting access to personal details online and avoiding being implicated by phishing emails.

For more information on this event, please click here to contact Luke Rigg.


MA Conference and AGM 2019




We are happy to announce some newly confirmed speakers for the MA Conference: Lady Justice Macur, Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales will be joining us as the first keynote speaker.

Dr Julie Doughty, Lecturer in Law at Cardiff University, Trustee and Founder Member of The Transparency Project, will be speaking during the innovations and technology breakout.

As announced previously, the President of the Family Division Sir Andrew McFarlane will be a keynote speaker, sharing his views on the current challenges facing the family justice system and the future reforms that may be required; HM Courts and Tribunals Service Chief Executive Susan Acland-Hood will be discussing the changing face of the magistracy; Sentencing Council member Dr Alpa Parmar will be looking at interactions between inequality and justice; and Director of the Centre for Justice Innovation Phil Bowen will explore problem-solving courts in criminal justice.

Other speakers will include Professor Peter Squires of the Institute of Criminal Research, Dr Daragh Murray, Senior Lecturer of Essex University School of Law, Polly Harrar, founder of The Sharan Project and Carolyn Housman, Chief Executive Officer of Children and Families across Borders.


For a full list of speakers, or to book a place, click here.

Chair & Deputy Chair Branch Visits

John Bache, Chair

Attended visits in June 2019

5 June 2019               Somerset MA

Upcoming visits

22 June 2019              Cambridgeshire MA
11 July 2019                Shropshire MA
4 September 2019       Kent MA

18 September 2019      Essex MA
29 October 2019           Clwyd MA

Beverley Higgs, Deputy Chair


5 June 2019                   Somerset MA


Alison Spurgeon-Dickson, Deputy Chair


26 July 2019                  Gloucestershire AGM

7 September 2019         Birmingham MA 

Please click here if you would like to request the attendance of the Chair or a Deputy Chair for a branch event.


club1st Prize – Martyn Sharp (Cambridgeshire)

2nd Prize – Patricia Cook (Somerset)

3rd Prize – Barbara Ide (North Kent)

Cheshire MA: conference and AGM 

Cheshire MA will be holding their annual conference and AGM on Saturday 12 October 2019 in Hartford, Cheshire. They have some exciting speakers arranged so watch this space for further details.

For further information, please click here to contact Alan Eyres.

Essex MA AGM

On 18 September at 19:00, Essex MA AGM will be held at the Reid Rooms in Billericay. This year's guest speaker will be John Bache JP FRCS who is the current MA National Chair.

Towards the middle of June the reminder to self-nominate to positions on the Essex MA Executive Committee will be published with positions being effective from the AGM. Ian Finch, current Branch Secretary, steps down this year after six years in the post and a replacement will be required. If anyone would consider taking on the role then Ian would be only to pleased to hear from you and talk you through what is involved.

For more information, please click here to contact Ian Finch.

Dorset MA AGM

Dorset MA will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 29th October 2019 at Bryanston School, Blandford Forum, Dorset DT11 0PX

Programme below:

3pm Arrival, sign in and coffee or tea

4pm AGM

4.30pm Presentation from a senior executive of HMCTS

5.15pm Presentation from the Chairman of Narcotics Anonymous, Dorset

6pm Legal Update

7pm Buffet supper

For more information, please click here to contact Louise Dutton.

Cambridgeshire MA AGM and Mini Conference

Cambridgeshire MA AGM and Mini Conference is being held on 22 June at Buckden Towers from 10am to 1pm followed by lunch. Speakers to include HHJ Jonathan Cooper and National MA Chair John Bache.

Please click here to contact Tracy Sortwell for further details.

Gloucestershire MA AGM and summer meeting

Gloucestershire MA will hold its annual morning event on 26 July at Ebley House, 235 Westward Road, Ebley, Stroud GL5 4SX (by kind permission of the Novalis Trust).

The meeting will commence with tea/coffee at 9am and conclude after lunch with a short presentation introducing the MA’s new MIC materials. A two-course cooked meal and refreshments will be provided to branch members.

The keynote speaker at the AGM will be Bev Higgs, National Deputy Chair of the MA, who will talk about ‘The Future of the Magistracy’.

There will also be a training session on a subject to be confirmed.

For more information on the event, please contact Sue Alexander.

Clwyd MA Visit

Philip Jones, Chair of Clwyd MA Executive Committee has arranged a tour of the Fire/Ambulance Service Station at Wrexham which opened in April 2016.

The details are as follows:-

  • Date: Saturday 20th July 2019
  • Time: 10.00am
  • Venue: Croesnewydd Road, Wrexham,  LL13 7YU (situated next to the lower car park of the Maelor Hospital in Wrexham)
  • What will happen: The visit will include a tour of the Fire station, an insight in relation to the appliances stationed there and their capabilities. You will meet the watch of the day (operations permitting) and be offered some refreshments.

Places are limited so please click here to email Denise Chadwick

NB Expenses are not available for this event.

Staffordshire MA Community Payback

Opportunity to see Community Payback in action

Following a series of successful visits in Tamworth, Cannock and Newcastle last autumn, Staffordshire MA has arranged further visits for Magistrates to visit the onsite activities of various Community Payback (unpaid work) teams working in the Cannock and Newcastle/Stoke on Trent areas. Places are limited and open to all Magistrates, on a ‘first come, first served basis’.

As requested at our last AGM, there is now a choice between a weekday and a weekend visit, both of which will start onsite at 09:30 (to be confirmed for each date/venue), when you will be met by the local Supervisor who will give you a short introductory welcome (maybe even a coffee!). There will be ample opportunities to ask questions.

The first two dates for 2019 are: 

Thursday 27th June in Newcastle/Stoke or Saturday 6th July in Cannock.

Once confirmed, you will be provided with all the necessary details including exact meeting location and time.

Please click here to contact Richard Thomas JP with any queries

Unfortunately travelling expenses cannot be claimed or reimbursed

MA/HMCTS Training in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxford

We invite you to attend a 2.5 hour training session where we aim to refresh Magistrates’ knowledge in the key areas of bail, case management and sentencing. We have received feedback that an opportunity to “go back to basics” provides a valuable experience and increases confidence in decision making.

There is a choice of 3 dates and venues and expenses can be claimed for whichever venue you choose to attend regardless of which county you are based in:

  • Berkshire – Tuesday 25 June at St Crispin’s School from 6pm – 8:30pm
  • Buckinghamshire - Saturday 29 June at the Grange, Aylesbury from 10am – 12.30pm
  • Oxford – Thursday 11 July at the St Cross Building, Oxford from 6pm – 8.30pm

Please click here to email Sue Glover with your choice of venue.

The programme for the event is as follows

6pm – 6:40pm ( 10am- 10:40am)

Bail, an update, case study, feedback

10 mins break

6.50pm -7:30pm – (10.50am – 11:30am)

Case Management, an update, case study, feedback

10 mins break

7:40pm – 8:20pm ( 11:40am – 12:20pm)

Sentencing, an update, case study, feedback

10 mins – plenary

8:30pm (12:30pm)  


We look forward to seeing you at a training event and hope you will find this to be a useful and informative experience.

Birmingham MA Study Morning

This will be held on 7 September at the Tally Ho. There will be presentations by Linden Thomas, Senior Lecturer at Birmingham University Law School and President of the Law Society,  the Probation Liaison and Diversion team, working with Solihull Mental Health Trust and an update on MA activities from the Deputy Chairman, Dr Alison Spurgeon-Dickson.

This occasion also provides us with an opportunity to thank our members for their support in attending the variety of talks and tours that have taken place this year.

Finally,  to support the work done by the Committee, we are looking for additional members to join us.  Please give this some thought and if you would like to know more about what is involved please do not hesitate to contact me or any other member of the Committee;  we will be happy to provide you with an insight.

We look forward to seeing you at the AGM in September; to book your place please email Joan Popovic. 

Oxfordshire MA Social

A Social get together for the Oxfordshire MA will be being held at a local restaurant in or close to Oxford on 18 October.

For more information, please click here to contact Tania Cherry

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