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Future Courts: A New Vision For Summary Justice

FUTURE COURTS A new vision for summary justice #keepingjusticelocal CHALLENGES FOR COURTS As part of the programme of public spending cuts, HM Courts and Tribunals Service needs to make significant savings The Service must deliver a 37.8% reduction in its budget from 2012-2016 That means finding savings of £455m a year As it has in the past, the Ministry of Justice may decide to merge or close courts to cut costs. This does not necessarily constitute a problem: Courts are under-utilised... The average court utilisation rate is currently only |55.7% .and there are lots of them - it would still be possible to reduce numbers without affecting access to justice .. There are currently Compared to just 230 180 magistrates courts in England and Wales NHS A&E departments ++++ ++++ However, if the number of court closures is too drastic, or conducted without due care, it will diminish the ability of magistrates to judge cases locally. This will sever the connection between the courts and the community they serve, putting the entire notion of local justice at risk. On top of this, the magistracy is facing problems of its own... THE DECLINING MAGISTRACY Lay magistrates have formed the backbone of the criminal justice system for over 650 years. >90% of all criminal cases are dealt with by magistrates But the magistracy is in decline Magistrates' workload is shrinking Overall crime is falling More offences are being dealt with by the police through out-of-court disposals Recorded crime is down 39% (2004-2013) 10.48% 2002 District judges are taking more cases District judges are sitting 27.85% 2007 (peak) 15% more days in court 20.26% 2012 The reduced workload has resulted in a decline in magistrate numbers 30,0007 25,000- Total magistrates -6,317 20,000 어 (-21.2%) 15,000- New magistrates 10,000- -1,891 (-78.4%) 5,000- 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 The lack of new magistrates is in turn creating a situation where the make-up of the magistracy is getting progressively older The magistracy also suffers from a lack of racial diversity Ethnic minority representation in population 14.1% 60+ Ethnic minority representation in magistracy 50-59 8.4% 40-49 <40 2010 These factors represent a significant threat to the notion of local justice as we know it today We need to revitalise the magistracy and find more innovative ways of dispensing justice in order to preserve the local link INNOVATING JUSTICE I Stationing magistrates in 'Police Courts' In a country with far fewer courts, we can cost-effectively provide local justice by stationing magistrates at or near police stations, or in a range of flexible locations with cases heard by video link Magistrates would be able to dispense much swifter justice by passing sentences for low level offences immediately after charge (where the offender has pleaded guilty) Magistrates in police In 2011 were handed out for robbery, GBH with intent, and racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage stations would also be 828 able to oversee out-of-court disposals, which the public are rightly concerned are being mis-used cautions 2 Sentencer supervision and reviews Offender Progress Review Magistrates could be allocated a caseload of offenders Week 1 progress: Poor - sanction applied (1 night in custody) who might benefit from periodic sentence review. Depending on progress, they would be able to apply sanctions or incentives as Week 2 progress: Improved necessary. Week 3 progress: Good 3 Community engagement and public confidence Magistrates should spend 1/3 of their time performing community engagement work 4 Revitalising and expanding the magistracy In order to reverse the decline in magistrate numbers, improve their diversity and allow for them to fulfil the expanded role we detail above, the should recruit = 500 magistrates government 10,000 more magistrates pro-actively targeting a more diverse and younger group of people To find out more from the report, including about justice hubs and specialist courts, visit Policy Exchange @Policy_Exchange Magistrates' age 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2011 2012 2013

Future Courts: A New Vision For Summary Justice

shared by policyexchange on Feb 21
Magistrates should dispense justice inside police stations at peak times – including evenings and weekends – and be put in charge of the administration of out-of-court disposals, as part of a radi...


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