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14 September 2023
Diversity, disparity and inclusion Practicalities of being a magistrate

A round-up of our recent media coverage.

To deliver on the organisation’s influencing objectives, Magistrates’ Association (MA) spokespeople regularly talk to the media. Since our last round-up in June, we have secured almost 100 pieces of coverage on topics including, among others, our advocacy report on the inaccessibility of magistrates’ courts, court backlogs, out of court disposals (OOCDs), our internal style guide and the Single Justice Procedure (SJP).

In June, we published our latest advocacy report, which revealed that a largely inaccessible court estate threatens to undermine the efficiency of courts and equal access to justice. This made a splash, with the Guardian breaking the news and interviewing the chair of our magistrates with disabilities network, the Law Society Gazette covering our findings and published a big feature on the dire state of the court estate that led with our report, and outlets including Nation CymruPolice Professional and The Times also reporting on our findings.

In July, our advocacy report on OOCDs was featured in a piece by Suffolk News, and our view on court backlogs was included in a Law Society Gazette feature.

In August, erroneous claims that we issued language-related guidance to the magistracy circulated in the tabloid media. We issued a statement clarifying that this reporting was in fact referencing our internal style guide (for use by MA staff and volunteers only) and reiterating our commitment to using inclusive language. This resulted in corrections in the Daily Express, the Daily Mail and the Sun.

Later that month, our Chief Executive, Tom Franklin, talked to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about the SJP, explaining the role of magistrates in the process. The Evening Standard quoted Tom’s BBC Radio 4 remarks on the topic and cited our related statement in a further feature in September.