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30 June 2024
Wider justice system

A round-up of our recent media coverage.

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As the only collective and independent voice of the magistracy, we generate widespread, positive media coverage about the Magistrates’ Association and the magistracy, respond to topical legal issues and help clear up misconceptions about magistrates and their work – making us a go-to resource for journalists and broadcasters.

Since our last round-up in March, we have secured an incredible 562 pieces of coverage on topics including repeat knife offenders, the Single Justice Procedure, staff shortages in the criminal justice system, shoplifting cases, Operation Early Dawn, CourtWatch reports, the general election and court accessibility.

In April, we continued promoting our position statement on the Single Justice Procedure, which includes our recommendations to make it fairer, more consistent and more open, and secured coverage in various outlets, including Birmingham Live, the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian.

In the same month, the Press Association and dozens of local outlets, such as the Cornish Times and Bedford Today, featured our concerns that the offence of TV licence evasion disproportionately affects women.

Our national chair, Mark Beattie, talked to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about shoplifting cases. He explained that magistrates follow sentencing guidelines and consider a range of factors in individual cases.

Again in April, the Independent and the Law Society Gazette quoted our chief executive, Tom Franklin, on repeat knife offenders and staff shortages in the criminal justice system respectively.

In May, our response to Operation Early Dawn, an emergency measure that was implemented to deal with prison overcrowding by delaying the cases in magistrates’ courts, was widely covered by the media, including BBC News, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the Evening Standard, the Financial Times, the Independent, the Law Society Gazette, the Press Association and The Times. To share our position even more widely, our chief executive, Tom Franklin, talked to Jim Diamond on LBC and to Ed Vaizey on Times Radio. We also secured hundreds of pieces of local media coverage, such as in the Dorset Echo and the Lancashire Telegraph.

When Transform Justice published three CourtWatch reports based on a magistrates’ courts observation project in May, we responded to it in this Law Society Gazette piece, highlighting that we would like to work with them and others to build more trust and confidence in our justice system.

In June, we continued securing coverage on our position statement on the Single Justice Procedure in hundreds of outlets, including the Evening Standard, the Independent, the Press Association and the Yorkshire Post.

In the same month, we published our key asks of the new government and urged it to make the criminal justice system a priority, carry out a fundamental review of it and boost investment in all parts of it. It was featured in several outlets, such as City AM, the Law Society Gazette, Police Oracle and Police Professional.

We were also quoted in this Times piece on court accessibility and promoted the advocacy report we published last year. We said that the £220 million promised by March 2025 for court buildings is nowhere near enough.