Back in July, the Chairman of the Magistrates Association, Richard Monkhouse had stated that around 30 resignations had been recorded due to disagreements about the viability of court charges in the UK, a figure that has increased massively since then.
The suggestion made by Monkhouse is that guilty pleas are being forced from innocent defendants, in order to offset victim compensation as magistrate courts try to find ways to cover all costs.
‘Under the changes to the law, guilty defendants (either by conviction or plea) will have to pay towards the cost of hearing their cases in a range of mandatory amounts from £150 to £1200′
Monkhouse at the time when the Ministry of Justice brought in these charges stated that, “the potential impact of charges on defendants’ pleas needed more analysis”, he went on to suggest that these mandatory court charges be reassessed in just six months, rather than the three year period set by the legislation.
The state of these charges means that many magistrates doubt the validity of the current court proceedings, and that both magistrates and criminal law solicitors are not able to fully protect those defendants during court processes. For many the unfairness and bureaucracy stacked against these defendants is just not what these Magistrates, and those looking to uphold justice signed up for.
Currently there are no plans for a review of the charges to be brought forward from the current date of April 2018.