Sunday, December 13, 2009


At the end of your first year as a Magistrate (assuming you haven't run away screaming by then) you get a couple of days consolidation training to prepare you for your assessment.

Good to catch up with my peer group - lots of great war stories, but we did all promise confidentiality so I'll resist the temptation to pass any of them on. Suffice it to say that I got some reassurance that my experience of the criminal justice system I sporadically document here is not at all untypical.

We did some role-play scenarios of the type that were fascinating when we tackled them in basic training, but now we've actually experienced dozens of real cases they are completely unsatisfying. We've all seen how the outcome can depend on a number of subtle features that you won't see summarised in a one paragraph summary.

Another difference from last year was that the groups didn't get wildly different answers from the exercises. Which is reassuring - shows that the training and the guidelines actually do seem to do the job.

The biggest shock was working without an experienced Chair. You don't fully appreciate what they do until you try to replace them with a rookie and watch the process unravel.

At the end we were shown a short piece of propaganda to the effect that we should consider the effect on witnesses before agreeing to a postponement of a trial. A very laudable aim that I'll definite take note of, even though the production values of the video nearly gave me the giggles.

All in all, not nearly as blogworthy as the initial training I'm afraid.

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