Insight Into Staines Magistrates Court
Sincere thanks to 20-year veteran John Small, Deputy Bench Chair, and even more experienced Legal Team Manager, Ruth Goodger, for their invaluable introduction to daily life at Staines Magistrates Court, one of two such locations within our county. It is often forgotten that the 180 magistrates across Surrey, such as John, are volunteers and perform critical roles within the much-respected British legal system. Magistrates face the same levels of substantial change in terms of digital reform, and both John and Ruth see many possibilities for making the tried and tested legal processes and procedures, even more efficient. Much more use will soon be made of video-links between the police, court and prison systems, saving much time, stress and resources for all involved. All criminal cases brought before the courts begin life in the Magistrates Court, and the recruitment and development of our volunteer magistrates is of critical importance. John and Ruth agree that developing awareness of our unique court system amongst the public (particularly new generations of schoolchildren) and encouraging diversity amongst applicants for the Bench, are two key areas of focus.