The TRUNK May 2019

The TRUNK: where branches come together


Wessex MA: support for secondary mental health claimants in Southampton

talkingMany offenders leave prison with multiple health issues: chronic anxiety, paranoia, depression, and in some cases PTSD. Figures show 53% of offenders released from prison do not make a claim to benefit. Lack of engagement with the benefit system can be a catalyst for further offending, homelessness and increased vulnerability for this client group.

Andy Sherman JP, the Wessex MA Mental Health Champion, has been awarded a European Flexible Support Fund Community Grant to initiate a project supporting individuals with secondary mental health conditions to reduce and avoid offending in Southampton. The project provides specialist individual support for those whose mental health problems are affecting their ability to function day-to-day, through gaining and sustaining employment. The project fills a known gap in provision, and works by:

• Integrating mental health employment services into the local Jobcentre team to ensure specialist mental health and employment support is readily available and timely.

• Ensuring that clients have access to a range of secondary mental health support options either directly via the CMHT or by signposting to appropriate mental health services.

• Ensuring that clients are supported to explore and progress towards paid employment in competitive work settings.

• Supporting mental health employment specialists to work directly with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust mental health services, to bridge the gap between Jobcentre staff and mental health services in the best interests of individual clients.

• Offering clients support and advice to retain employment.

• Offering support and training to Jobcentre staff around how best to support people with secondary mental health conditions.

• Providing time unlimited support for clients once they have secured work in order to sustain and retain their employment.

• Conducting additional research on the impact of this project, e.g. social capital benefit.

The project has already increased uptake of benefits from 53% to 95%.

For more information about this, please contact Andy Sherman.


Thames Valley branches: inter-branch training initiative

branchBerkshire MA, Buckinghamshire MA and Oxfordshire MA, the three MA branches in the Thames Valley, are running a joint training initiative with HMCTS at three venues in late June and July. These will aim to enable magistrates to gain valuable training in judicial decision making.

The training element will be provided by HMCTS and the sessions will be run by the respective MA branches as follows:

• Berkshire – 25 June at St Crispin’s School, 6.00 – 9.30 pm

• Buckinghamshire – 29 June at The Grange, Aylesbury, from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm

• Oxfordshire –11 July at St Cross Building, Oxford, from 6.30 – 9.30 pm

Thames Valley magistrates are invited to attend whichever is most convenient and magistrates can claim expenses for attendance as it is training, as well as an opportunity to see colleagues

For more information, please contact Paul Wassell.

Gloucestershire MA: Working with Children Guidelines for MIC events

micGloucestershire MA has been successful in obtaining a grant of £2,000 from its High Sheriff’s Fund to assist schools needing help with the cost of transporting children to and from the primary schools’ mock trial competition, now run in four locations across the county.

As the award was 'subject to first receiving a satisfactory copy of the MA’s child safeguarding policy’, Gloucestershire MA got in touch with Lisa Whitehead, MA Membership, MIC & Events Manager for some pointers and produced ‘Working with Children Guidelines’ for their MIC events. Other branches may find them a helpful way of clarifying to schools and groups that we take the welfare of under 18s seriously but the responsibility for supervising and ensuring safeguarding will remain firmly with them.

For more information on this, or to request a copy of the guidelines, please contact Sue Alexander.

25 years of Mock Trials! Let us have your memories!

mock trialThe Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial (MCMT) Competition is now in its twenty-fifth successful year, and each year involves over 4,000 students from over 300 schools across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The competition is nationally organised by Young Citizens supported by the Magistrates Association, local magistrates and court staff.

To celebrate our partnership, Young Citizens are collecting stories about the MCMT. Have you been involved? Do you have any outstanding memories? If so, we would love to hear from you.

Please email with any memorable experiences, or particular students that come to mind that stood out in one of the competitions. If you have been involved in any way, whether as local organiser or judging on the day, please do get in touch!

The Sheriffs' Award: nominations sought

sheriffIn the wake of the shocking terrorist outrages of 7 July 2005, when 52 people were murdered and many more injured, past Masters of The Worshipful Company of Security Professionals, Steve Neville and Peter French, felt that many acts of bravery had gone unrecognised. With the approval of the then Lord Mayor (Elect), Sir David Brewer, the Sheriffs' Award for Bravery was launched. Every year since then, nominations have been sought from the military, emergency services, the security industry and law enforcement agencies, as well as members of the general public. 

The Sheriffs' Award is a highly prestigious one with the winner receiving a trophy, a framed certificate and, from 2014, a cheque for £2,500. By order of the Sheriffs, their names are permanently inscribed on an Honours Board and in a Book of Honour which are on permanent display at the Central Criminal Court - 'The Old Bailey'.

The search for nominations begins in February each year at the Old Bailey during a ceremony presided over by the Sheriffs. Later in the year the Sheriffs select the Award winner and a deserving list of runners-up.

If you are aware of any worthy nominees, please click here to complete the nomination form and return the completed form by 1 August 2019 either by surface mail, or email to The Clerk at

Please contact the Clerk on 01787 282777 with any queries.


MA members attend the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace 

rgp‘On 15 May, a merry band of JPs met at MA Head Office for a champagne lunch before heading off to the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

‘It was a glorious sunny day – which was a relief to all the ladies wearing hats and fascinators! The lunch was a fabulous start to an amazing day. We were looked after superbly by Lisa, Alison, Melodie and Henry and then seen off in style on a coach to take us to the Palace. Thank you all.

‘The Buckinghamshire four – myself, Martin Colyer and our other halves – decided to enter via the main gate. The queue was huge as you would expect when 5000 people are all going to the same place; but the camaraderie was such that you didn’t notice the time you were waiting. The visiting tourists were fascinated by us and were keen to know if we were VIPs – of course we said we were!

‘We went through the palace and out onto the back steps into the fabulous grounds, it was a truly fantastic sight with bands playing in the bandstands and people milling around with their plates of afternoon tea – tiny sandwiches and cakes that must have taken hours to prepare.

‘We all lined up to make two pathways, one for Prince Charles and one for Camilla and the Princess Royal. We saw Prince Charles – eventually, that man can talk!

‘We sat by the lake and at the end we all stood, the men took off their top hats and the national Anthem was played to signify the end of the party. There really is something special about hearing the National Anthem whilst being at the Palace – a truly moving moment and a great finale to a wonderful day.’

Lancashire County MA: guided tour of the Masjid e Salaam Mosque

mosqueLancashire County MA would like to invite MA members (plus one guest) to a tour of the Masjid e Salaam Mosque, 49 Watling Street Road, Preston PR2 8EA on 22 June. The tour starts at 10am, followed by lunch which will finish around 12.45pm. There is no charge for this event although the branch suggests a small donation to the mosque charity fund.

Attendees are asked to wear modest clothing, with a headscarf for women being preferred but not essential. Shoes must be removed on entry, so comfortable socks are suggested. Barefoot is optional.

Masjid e Salaam was established in 1996 and in the multicultural neighbourhood of Fulwood. The mosque has good links with all religious groups in the area and is proud to be at the centre of inter community relations.

Places will be first come first served. For enquiries and to reserve your place please email Irene Melling by 10 June.

Lancashire County MA: AGM and cybercrime presentation

cybercrimeOver 50 members and guests attended the Lancashire County AGMon 1 May. The business meeting was followed by a highly informative and thought provoking presentation on cybercrime by DS Mark Burns and DC Allan Culshaw from Lancashire Constabulary.

Guests included the Lancashire High Sheriff, the Hon. Ralph Assheton, and HHJ Mark Brown, Honorary Recorder of Preston. The branch was also very pleased to welcome newly appointed magistrates to the Lancashire Bench.

For more information, please contact Fiona Duggan,

Northumbria MA: a talk on the rehabilitation of offenders in the community 

oswinOn 8 May, Fiona Sample, Chief Executive Officer of The Oswin Project, gave a talk to members of Northumbria MA at the Newcastle Arts Centre.

As Chaplain to the High Sheriff of Northumberland and then as High Sheriff, Fiona had the opportunity to visit prisons in the North East and talk to staff and prisoners. When asked what would stop reoffending, the reply was always ‘a job’.

As a result of these experiences, Fiona founded the Oswin Project in 2011. The charity gives a second chance to ex-offenders in the North East through training, support and employment. The project gives its clients, known as Oswinners, mentoring and supervision over a trial employment period, after which they should have an excellent chance of securing a long term job and reintegrating into society.

Fiona spoke to attendees about the charity’s completed, current and planned projects, and shared a number of “Oswinner” success stories.

Further information on the charity can be found at:

Northumbria MA: local and regional heats of the mock trial event at Newcastle Crown Court

newcastleThe local round of the 2019 mock trials took place on 23 March at Newcastle Crown Court. 12 teams from 11 schools drawn from across Tyne and Wear, Co. Durham and Northumberland took part.

The competition ran very smoothly on the day with a very close result - only a few marks separated the teams. Teachers, parents and participants commented about how much they had enjoyed the event and competitors were praised by magistrates about the quality of their performances.

30 amazing volunteers helped make the day a success including 3 legal advisers and 27 magistrates, with the MA being well represented.

Given the number of teams, there were two qualifiers for the regional heat on 18 May also at Newcastle Crown Court: Cramlington Learning Village and Duchess's Community High School, Alnwick. They were joined by the qualifiers from Cleveland and Cumbria. Duchess's Community High School emerged victorious and will go on to represent the north east in the national finals. Northumbria MA wishes them the best of luck!

For more information on the mock trial competition, please contact Lesley Dickinson.

Middlesex MA: training event on unconscious bias

middlesexOn 30 April, Middlesex MA held a training event on Unconscious Bias. The event took place at the Doubletree Hotel, Ealing Common and was open to both MA members and the general public. It had over 40 attendees.

The speakers were Dr Sarah Bunn, Scientific Adviser to the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology and the author of Unintentional Bias in Court, and Nisha Gautama, Legal Team Manager in West Area.

Dr Bunn spoke on confirmation bias, stereotype bias, anchoring, questions style and efficiency, witness confidence and other types of unintentional bias. She told attendees how it is difficult to recognise and change these biases and recommended further research in Magistrates Courts. She also provided a link to a Harvard University test, allowing attendees to check their own bias.

Nisha Gautama gave tips and advice on how magistrates might remain objective in the court and retiring room.

The event was most thought provoking and evaluation forms showed that attendees had found it stimulating and useful. It is first of a programme of events planned by Middlesex MA’s new executive committee.

For more information on this and future events, please contact Roger King.

Berkshire MA: dinner with the High Sheriff and an eminent consultant psychologist

eventIn May, Berkshire MA held a meeting at Flavell Suite at Sindlesham Masonic Centre.

Attendees heard from Lydia Enderby, a consultant psychologist with experience of working with long-term serious offenders. She explained how better outcomes in court proceedings were to be expected if there was mental health assistance available and that early intervention was cost effective. She then described the key points of the overarching principles expected soon from the Sentencing Council on dealing with people with mental health issues.

There was then a talk by Graham Barker, the outgoing High Sheriff, who spoke about his year as the High Sheriff, how he came to be appointed and how the office has very old roots. Further, he stated that he was at odds with Sir John Betjeman, as he found Slough to be a most delightful place with a vibrant community!

For more information on the event, please contact Paul Wassell.

Norfolk MA AGM

meetingNorfolk MA AGM will take place on 13 June at Edwards Room, County Hall. After a short business meeting, the branch will have three speakers.

• Steve Garvie is the Deputy Governor of Wayland Prison and will give a talk on his role and prisoner rehabilitation.

• Trish Phillips is a retired magistrate and is currently the Chairman of the Independent Monitoring Board at Wayland. She has much experience in this role at Norwich and Bure as well. Trish will talk about her role and the effect of short sentences on prisoners.

• Detective Sergeant Chris Banks, of the Public Protection Unit (PPU), will talk about his role with PPU and their work in the police management of sex offenders living in the community and a briefing.

The event will also be the last meeting with the current Lord Lieutenant, Richard Jewson, who is Norfolk MA President and retires from his official roles this year.
The branch hopes you will agree that this sounds a very interesting and helpful evening to assist in sentencing and confidence with other agencies, as well as providing a few ideas for those of you looking for additional interests or retirement ideas.

The event is open to all MA members. If you are not a member but would like to attend, then please contact Jean Bonnick.

Bedfordshire MA mini-conference

noahOn 18 May 2019, Bedfordshire MA held another successful mini-conference at The Rufus Centre in Flitwick. The event had three guest speakers:

• Jim O’Connor MBE, Chief Executive, NOAH (New Opportunities and Horizons): NOAH is a Luton based charity offering hope and support to people struggling with homelessness and exclusion. Jim explained how NOAH came into existence and the many different ways they help to get individuals off the streets and into safe housing.

• Arnold Yousaf, SOS and Project Coordinator for St Giles Trust: St Giles Trust offers intensive, specialist help for young people affected by gang related violence and exploitation. They also work to prevent young people at risk of becoming involved in gangs and violence.

As an ex-gang member himself Arnold had firsthand experience of the terrible longstanding effects of violence associated with gang membership and the drug related crimes that go with it.

• Judge Lynn Tayton, Luton Crown Court: Lynn provided attendees with a valuable insight into Appeals by defendants against decisions made in the magistrates’ courts.

As many of MA members have other voluntary roles with other charities and committees, there were many requests to all three speakers, to come and talk in the same manner to such other organisations.

For more information, please contact John Pickersgill

MA Conference, Awards and AGM 2019

conferenceThe theme of this year's conference is THE CHANGING FACE OF JUSTICE so please join us for an interactive look at the future of the magistracy against the backdrop of the wider justice system.


We are happy to announce some newly confirmed speakers for the MA Conference: Professor Peter Squires of the Institute of Criminal Research, Dr Daragh Murray (pictured left), Senior Lecturer of The University of Essex School of Law, Polly Harrar, founder of The Sharan Project and Carolyn Housman (pictured right), Chief Executive Officer of Children and Families across Borders.

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.

The Chair of Triple A (All About Autism) Karen Quinn JP, will be on Panel 1 discussing The changing face of the magistracy and the Chief Executive of Stopwatch Katrina Ffrench, will be on Panel 2 exploring Interactions between inequality and justice.

Head of Research at the London Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime Dr Paul Dawson will be speaking about the use of Alcohol Abstinence Monitoring Requirements, independent consultant Mary Ryan will talk about the setup and rollout of the Family Drug and Alcohol Courts, and the Sentencing Council and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust will be delivering sessions on mental health and stalking respectively.

The 2019 MA Conference, Awards and AGM will take place on Saturday 19 October 2019 in historic Stratford-upon-Avon.

Click here to book before 1 July 2019 and get the reduced Early Bird rates!

Chair & Deputy Chair Branch Visits

John Bache, Chair

Attended visits in May 2019

11 May 2019          North and West Yorkshire MA
15 May 2019          Surrey MA
18 May 2019          Derbyshire MA

Upcoming visits

5 June 2019           Somerset MA
22 June 2019         Cambridgeshire MA
11 July 2019           Shropshire MA
12 October 2019    Cheshire MA 

Beverley Higgs, Deputy Chair


5 June 2019        Somerset MA

Alison Spurgeon-Dickson, Deputy Chair


8 June 2019         Northumbria MA 

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

500 Club - MAY WINNERS!

club1st Prize – James Dickinson (Lancashire County)

2nd Prize – Margaret Crick (Oxfordshire)

3rd Prize – Jenny Farmer (Cumbria South)




Lincolnshire MA upcoming event

Early June– Annual General Meeting of the Lincolnshire Branch of the MA
Details will be confirmed nearer the time.

For more information, please click here to contact Mary Chamberlain. 

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.

Powys and Herefordshire MA AGM

Britain’s newest and largest prison (with some reports saying it will be the cushiest) will be the on the agenda at Powys and Herefordshire MA’s AGM, on the 18 June. 

Their guest speaker is Mark Greenhaf, the Deputy Governor at HMP Berwyn, Wrexham. The meeting will be held at the newly refurbished Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery.  It will begin with a 3pm tour of the museum, which includes the old Assizes Court.  This will be followed by the guest speaker at 5.15pm. The event will conclude with a buffet.

Please click here for a virtual tour of the HMP Berwyn.

For further information, please click here to contact Stephen Willmot.

Essex MA AGM

On the 18th September at 19:00 the Essex 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

The Dorset Branch of the 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 June 22nd 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.

Hertfordshire MA AGM and Branch Officer Elections 2019

Hertfordshire MA AGM and Branch Officer Elections is being held on Thursday, June 6th 2019 at 6.45 pm.  This year, they are most grateful to the University of Hertfordshire for letting us hold the AGM in room W040 in the Law School building at the University’s de Havilland campus in Hatfield.  Light refreshments will be served from 6.00 p.m.  

Attendance at the AGM and refreshments will be provided free of charge.

This year, they wil have three speakers.

HH Michael Baker CBE, QC, DL, retired Resident Judge, will speak on the meaning and importance of the Judicial Oath, whilst Dee Ryan and Peter Shaw from the Crown Prosecution Service will discuss knife crime and County lines, as well as their own role in the administration of justice.  All are happy to take questions.  

They are also now taking nominations for election of Herts. Branch officers for 2019/20. 

Please return completed nominations to Stephen Pam by Tuesday, 28th May 2019. 

Northumbria MA AGM

will take place on June 8 at Newcastle Arts Centre starting at 10.15am

In addition to the brief business meeting, we have two speakers and a buffet style lunch will be served.

Please contact Vivian Hollyoak, for further details.

Gloucestershire MA AGM and summer meeting

Gloucestershire MA will hold their 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.