MA ENEWS 6 September 2018

Welcome to MA ENEWS

MA conference 2018 speakers

MA Awards, Conference and AGM 2018 – BOOK NOW!

Friday 12 – Saturday 13 October 2018 – Manchester

The MA annual conference is fast approaching, so make sure you take the opportunity to attend and hear from the distinguished line-up of speakers, who will be addressing delegates on a range of judicial matters of particular relevance to the magistracy. We are pleased to be welcoming to the meeting:

The recently-retired former President of the Family Division Sir James Munby, who will be reflecting on the current challenges facing the family justice system and the reforms that may be required

Courts Minister Lucy Frazer QC MP, who will provide an overview of the primary issues related to court reform and the magistracy

HM Chief Inspector of Probation Dame Glenys Stacey DBE, who will share her views on topics such as community sentences, pre-sentence reports, post-release supervision and sentence confidence

Senior Presiding Judge Lady Justice Julia Macur DBE who has agreed to speak again to share her wealth of knowledge around current and future changes to the courts

Workshops

There is a workshop from the Sentencing Council confirmed and we will soon be announcing the other workshops and complete timings for all aspects of the event.

Catering

Breakfast and lunch will be provided to delegates, which will be a mixture of cold and hot food.

Accommodation

A special rate of £119 is available to all delegates at the Holiday Inn, however please be aware that cheaper rates may be available online.

Book your place

For more information or to book click here.

If you have any queries, please contact the membership team by email or on 020 7388 5558.

Awards Ceremony and Dinner

Friday evening 12 October 2018
Drinks reception and three-course dinner at Holiday Inn Manchester City Centre, 25 Aytoun Street, M1 3AE

We want to celebrate the success and dedication of our branches and individual members, so please get in touch and let us know who you'd like to nominate for the categories shown here. Nominations close at midnight on 9 September 2018, so please make your submissions before then using this nomination form.

Recruitment to the MA’s policy committees

DON'T MISS OUT - JUST ONE DAY LEFT TO APPLY!

MA policy committee meetingThe MA is inviting members to apply to join one of our policy committees and play a key role in the MA’s policy work.

The MA has four policy committees - the Adult Court Committee, the Family Court Committee, the Training Committee and the Youth Court Committee - and we are looking for MA members to join all four. The policy committees are at the heart of the MA’s work to ensure that magistrates play a leading role in the national policy-making process and committee members can make a significant contribution to our work to influence national policy on issues of importance to our members.

Recruitment is open now and applications must be submitted by 7 September. For more details on the role and how to apply, please click here.

Members of policy committees must be sitting magistrates. You don’t need to be London-based as much of our work is done online and travel expenses are covered. To find out more about membership of a policy committee or the committees’ work please contact Jo Easton, the MA’s Director of Policy and Research, by email or on 020 7387 2353. 

Search warrants consultation

Police woman at front door

The MA have submitted a response to the Law Commission's consultation on Search Warrants, which can be found here. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey relating to this consultation, it provided great insight into current practices, as well as a strong evidence base for our response.

 

 

Lord Chief Justice interviewed on BBC Radio 5Live

Lord Chief Justice - Sir Ian BurnettThe Lord Chief Justice was interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live's Clare McDonnell on 30 Jul 2018 at 10:00. Unfortunately the broadcast is no longer available but to view the transcript click here.

 

 

 

Next MA Council meeting

12 October 2018 at 11:30-16:00, Holiday Inn Manchester City Centre, 25 Aytoun Street, Manchester, M1 3AE

Lady Justice Thirlwall

All Council members should have received an email from Jon Collins regarding the next MA Council meeting, which will take place in Manchester the day before the AGM and annual conference. If you have either not received this email or have received it but are not the current post holder, then please contact the national office as soon as possible to let us know at information@magistrates-association.org.uk. We very much hope that every branch will be represented at this meeting. We think that Council has a vital role to play in informing and supporting the MA's work and we look forward to seeing representatives in October.

If you are not a Council member but there are issues that you'd like Council to discuss in October, please contact your local Council Representative. Their details are available on the MA's website here.

We are pleased to announce that the guest speaker at Council will be the Deputy Senior Presiding Judge of England and Wales, Lady Justice Thirlwall (pictured), who will discuss the reform programme. 

Sale of the MA's office in Fitzroy Square

Fitzroy Square signAs members will be aware, the MA sold our old office in Fitzroy Square and moved to our current office in St George Wharf in July 2017. In order to keep our members informed, we thought that it would be useful to provide you with information about the proceeds of the sale.

The Fitzroy Square office was sold for £4,825,000. £1,519,600 of this was spent on the purchase of our new office in St George Wharf. A further £532,572 was spent on the renovation of the new office and on professional fees relating to the sale and the purchase, while £127,048 was spent on fixtures and fittings for the new office and £22,497 was spent on new IT equipment.

This left a balance of £2,623,283. At a meeting of the MA's board in February 2018, following an investigation of options for investment by a subcommittee of the board, it was decided that the majority of this – £2.3m in total – should be invested in a multi-asset fund and a property fund to ensure that it delivers an annual income to the MA to contribute to our running costs while protecting the capital against inflation. We believe that it is in the interests of the MA to use this money for the long-term, providing income consistently for the MA into the future. The remainder has been used to bolster our cash reserves to ensure that the MA can continue to carry out our ambitious work programme while looking to diversify our future sources of income.

We hope this information is helpful for our members – if you have any questions or would like more information please do not hesitate to contact the Chief Executive Jon Collins.

Westminster Hall Debate on legal aid and the post-implementation review of LASPO

Legal Aid protestOn Tuesday evening, parliamentarians considered the government's current review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), in a Westminster Hall debate secured by Karen Buck MP.

Buck, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Legal Aid, described the legal aid system as being 'in crisis' in her opening speech, and argued that the reforms were having a disproportionate effect on the disadvantaged and disempowered. She went on to set out a range of concerns with how the government is conducting its current post-implementation review, specifically in terms of transparency and uncertainty around the review's timescale. Points were also raised around the removal of legal aid for initial legal advice and its role in signposting litigants to other dispute resolution services, and whether this was leading to the continued decline in mediation assessments for family matters.

Former Shadow Justice Minister Andy Slaughter MP highlighted the role that legal aid played in providing test cases in establishing and developing the law, and the SNP spokesperson for Justice, Joanna Cherry MP, provided an overview of the recent review of legal aid undertaken in Scotland. This review showed that the Scottish system spent less per capita than England and Wales, but provided a more inclusive framework.

Representing the current Shadow Justice Team, Yasmin Qureshi MP argued the false economy of removing funding for legal advice, due to the pressures that unrepresented litigants were placing on the courts. She also contended that the increasing use of virtual courts had the potential to create more confusion and difficulties for litigants in person.

The Minister concluded the debate by emphasising three points in defence of the government's approach:

  • the proportion of the Ministry of Justice's expenditure that was still being devoted to legal aid (around a fifth);
  • recently introduced expansions to the scope of legal aid, such as the recently relaxed evidence requirements for domestic violence victims; and
  • the wider programme of investment in the court estate, which aims to assist all litigants more broadly.

In response to questions about the timing of the post-implementation review, the Minister confirmed that the government was still committed to responding by the end of the year.

The full debate can be found here.

The future of probation services

Ministry of Justice entranceThe Ministry of Justice has launched a consultation Strengthening probation, building confidence and is seeking feedback on proposed changes to the structure and content of probation services.

The Ministry of Justice's intention is to: 

  • Introduce changes so that offenders are seen face-to-face at least monthly during the first 12 months of supervision and staff do more to help offenders find accommodation and employment on release from custody
  • End Community Rehabilitation Company contracts early and explore with the market how they could put in place a more effective commercial framework for probation services
  • Align probation areas in England, helping to strengthen ties with local partners such as voluntary sector organisations, local authorities and police and crime commissioners, and to work with London and Manchester to co-design future probation services in these areas as part of existing devolution agreements
  • Introduce a standard training framework for staff across all probation providers, and consult on the implementation of a professional register
  • Introduce new delivery arrangements in Wales, which better reflect the devolved responsibilities of the Welsh Government and build on existing local partnerships

The consultation closes on 21 September 2018. The MA will be responding to this consultation – please forward any comments to Andrea Coady.

New online resource on Police Information Notices (PINs)

PoliceThe MA has produced a guidance document on Police Information Notices and their current status. The guidance highlights the circumstances in which they are issued and concerns that have been raised about their usage. The College of Policing is due to release updated guidance on their usage shortly.

 

Training on Veteran's Mental Health

Veterans' mental health trainingThe Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) is a free NHS mental health service for ex-serving members of the UK Armed Forces and service personnel, including reservists, who are making the transition to civilian life. It works with those who live in London, Greater London, East and West Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Medway or are registered with a GP in those areas.

The service is hosting a training day at St Pancras Hospital, London, NW1 0PE on the 23 October 2018 to which all judicial office holders are invited.

The training comprises a face-to-face training package for criminal justice professionals, co-developed with veterans and their families as well as input from focus groups/individual interviews with relevant criminal justice system staff. Preliminary research has identified particular training needs in areas such as:

  • Offending behaviours of veterans
  • Military culture and jargon
  • Veteran mental health and behavioural issues - common presentations
  • De-escalation techniques and management of common mental health problems
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Problems in transition into civilian life
  • Structure of services for veterans (NHS and third sector) - regional and national

The training will be divided into two sessions: 09.00-12.00 OR 13.00-16.00.
Attendance is only required at one and there will be a networking lunch in between sessions.

To book a place, simply contact Beth Croak, Assistant Psychologist, Veterans' Mental Health TILS.

 

Recruiting new magistrates and spreading the word about the MA

NEW MA PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL

MA Chairman John Bache comments:

Membership Matters coverThe ideal time to recruit new magistrates to the MA is at their appointment. New magistrates are contacted by the MA national office with all the required information. However, there is a great deal that can be done at local level. Branch representatives are encouraged to:

  • Obtain a list of new magistrates, with contact details, from the bench chairman and/or the deputy justices' clerk
  • Arrange for new magistrates to be contacted directly by a member of the branch executive
  • Attend a session of induction training and explain the benefits of joining the MA
  • Attend swearing-in ceremonies and explain the benefits of joining the MA
  • Request the judge at the swearing-in ceremony encourage new magistrates to join the MA

We have produced new and improved MA promotional material to help you talk about who we are and what we do. Copies of the new recruitment pack have been sent to all branches and a soft copy may be accessed here: ENGLISH version | WELSH version.

Please contact the membership team with any queries by email or 020 7387 2353.

The TRUNK: where branches come together

The TRUNK logoIt is now two months since The TRUNK was launched! There have been two issues so far, in July and August, which have been enthusiastically received. In case you don't already know, The TRUNK is an inter-branch roundup, encouraging branches to share their news, good practice, achievements and events – a newsletter about our members, for our members. As always, we are very keen to get lots of interesting material, so do please let us know if you or your branch have done anything you'd like us to include. Remember that it's there for you so please try to make time to read it and consider making a contribution.

Please fill in the submission form and return it to Celestine Woodham. We are happy to receive submissions for the newsletter on a continuous basis, but the deadline for the October issue is at midnight on 17 September 2018.

The Children Act film

Emma Thompson in The Children ActOne of the most realistic screen portrayals of the work of a modern High Court judge is in cinemas from 24 August.

Based on the novel by Ian McEwan, Emma Thompson plays Mrs Justice Fiona Maye a Family Division judge who has to rule on the case of Adam (Fionn Whitehead), a boy who is refusing a blood transfusion which could save his life. Adam is three months from his 18th birthday and still legally a child. At the same time the judge is having difficulties in her marriage. More...

Emma Thompson recently told The Guardian that her role as family court judge was a 'great privilege'.

Advisory Committee information

Judicial Office logoThe Judicial Office has published three circulars, all of which relate to advisory committees, which may be of interest to some members.

Quarterly update No. 3
Updates on forthcoming changes and work affecting advisory committees.

New diversity monitoring form for AC member recruitment
New diversity monitoring form for applicants applying to advisory committee.

Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) updates and guidance on JCIO and conduct related issues
Covering staff shortage at the JCIO, informing the JCIO about magistrates' resignations, transmission of advisory committee reports by email and recommendations in relation to motoring offences.

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