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Every criminal case starts in a magistrates’ court, and most end there. Last year, the 14,000 magistrates of England & Wales dealt with almost 1.4 million cases.
But, what exactly does a magistrate do, who are they, and how are they recruited and trained? Are they out-of-touch and unrepresentative, or still fit for purpose with a role to play in today’s increasingly sophisticated and complex judicial system?
The Secret Magistrate takes the reader on an eye-opening, behind-the-scenes tour of a year in the life of an inner-city magistrate. Chapters cover a variety of cases including the disqualified driver who drove away from court, the Sunbed Pervert, and Fifi the Attack Chihuahua.
Foreword by Malcolm Richardson OBE | Chair, Magistrates Association, 2015-17
The Secret Magistrate is an inner-city magistrate who has sat on the bench for several years, and who has strong views on the role of magistrates within the Criminal Justice System. All names have been changed to protect both the innocent and the guilty.
The Secret Magistrate will be donating all their royalties to charity.
Published October 9 2020 | 978-1838099008 | 336pp | print and eBook formats available.
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“… an open and honest account of life on the bench … A skilled raconteur, The Secret Magistrate relives nuggets from his inbuilt case archive in an entertaining and informative way … an insight into the difficult decisions faced by colleagues on the bench every day …clearly written and his thought freely expressed. Legal jargon has been avoided … can be easily understood by someone unfamiliar with the workings of the court …The book is very well researched, containing a broad selection of the latest statistics from the Criminal justice System. It is also full of fresh content, including The Secret Magistrate’s views on the impact of coronavirus on the Magistrates’ Court … an absolute pleasure to read … I thoroughly recommend it. A cracking read.” Magistrates’ Blog, August 2020
“I can see TSM becoming recommended reading for anyone considering applying for the bench.” The Law Society Gazette, November 2020 [see full review]
“In this highly informative and entertaining book, The Secret Magistrate, who chooses to remain anonymous, takes the reader through a year in the life of a magistrate, explaining how magistrates are recruited, trained and mentored, what a typical day comprises, how the three magistrates work together, the role of the Legal Advisor in court, how verdicts are reached and how sentencing works.” Sixtyplussurfers, November 2020. [see full review]
“Lawyers will enjoy reading and learn from the book. Magistrates’ court advocates know early on to recognise each of their magistrates and to adjust their speeches to the way a particular bench thinks and behaves. This book will assist that process.” Criminal Law Review, March 2021.
“I found it ever so strange that The Secret Barrister could be so devastatingly accurate about much of the Criminal Justice System … with the sole exception of the magistracy. How could he or she have got it so wrong about us? ……. Then it finally struck me; perhaps The Secret Barrister is correct about us after all?!?” The Secret Magistrate