Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Now Here's An Interesting Idea...

Ellee Seymour reports HERE on the concept of Neighbourhood Courts. Great idea, as long as I can be the judge (and perferably the jury too!). Seriously, if we are to go down the 'localism' route, this is just the sort of innovation we should be looking at. I would have thought there ought to be a cross-party consensus that this would be a 'good thing'. I suppose the only worry is that we develop a Swiss-like set of rules and regulations which neighbours transgress at their peril and that it becomes a charter for the sad and the bad to impose their will on people who're just trying to live their lives. What do y'all reckon?


Anonymous said...

"...a charter for the sad and the bad to impose their will on people who're just trying to live their lives."

Erm, that's Nulab, surely?

Kevin Davis said...

don't knock the Swiss system They may be dull but they have cleaner streets than us!

They almost beat Portugal as well!

Local Courts are a good idea except that that soemone hasto sit on them. Would you be willing to sit in a court to whcih your agressive neghbours are routinely brought.

Anonymous said...

Iain, Im confused as to what you think local courts would achieve? What would the practical advantages be over normal courts?

Anonymous said...

This would be like giving Norris from Coronation Street licence to issue ASBOs in all but name.

It'd deal with nothing that magistrates can't and otherwise it would be used to deal with the most trivial matters leading to people living their lives by committee approval.

I'm perfectly happy with local magistrates, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hate to say it, but I spent a year studying this sort of thing, both in theory and in practice, at University, and I cannot see the point.

It pits neighbour against neighbour, lacks authority and cannot hand out punishments worth talking about. You could say it might work with very, very young offenders, but the Youth Courts aren't exactly busy, so why not let them handle it properly?

Anonymous said...

Just the job for Judge Judy!!!

The Remittance Man said...

Having read of the crowds that couldn't tell the difference between a paedophile and a paediatrician, this sort of thing scares me.

Elected judges and prosecuters as in the US might be a good idea. But I would make a prior legal qualification one of the prerequisites for all candidates.


Anonymous said...

Didn't we have these and weren't they called magistrates' courts, before this government ruined them by appointing district judges and emasculating the remaining magistrates? You can't have the common man sitting in judgment on the common man, because he is so vicious with his fellow who he perceives as having transgressed. Justice requires the application of mercy otherwise it becomes vengenance and ceases to be legitimate or just.

Anonymous said...

RM - Obviously elected judges in the US are actual judges. People can't just walk in off the street and say, "I want to stand for Second District Court judge."

The point about the American system is, the judges are answerable to the voters - at the next election; our own judges live in a world of their own, absolutely isolated from the voters. I would prefer that the two be in touch.

The same with police chiefs and sheriffs. Police chiefs who don't perform in the US, in all states, get voted out of a job. So guess what. They perform. (And to do them justice, they come in intending to perform.)

Believe me, no Ian Blair could survive in his job in the US - in even a liberal state. The man is hopelessly confused about law enforcement - No 1 no-no in the US, and he lectures what would be his voting constituency. No 2 no-no.

Neighbourhood courts sounds too tribal ... too dated. If Blair hadn't ruined, as he has ruined everything that caught his magpie eye, our legal structure, with our magistrates'courts, this wouldn't even be up for discussion.

Anonymous said...

For my liking they smack too much of Chinese Communist Party street committees - now there's a nasty system for you.

The Remittance Man said...


I couldn't agree more, and please don't think I was suggesting that US judges were unqualified.

But this concept of neighbourhood courts, coming as it does from someone who has publicly declared his admiration for Marx, sounds a little too much like the kangaroo "people's courts" one hears about in revolutionary banana republics for my liking.