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Magistrates: Training

Volume 737: debated on Tuesday 12 September 2023

To preserve the independence of the judiciary, the Lord Chief Justice has a statutory responsibility for the training of the judiciary under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, and that includes magistrates and their legal advisers. Magistrates, and the legal advisers who support them in court, must complete induction training before hearing cases and, once magistrates are sitting, continuation training is provided on regular cycles. Impartial decision making is woven throughout all the material.

I thank the Minister for his answer. Chris Pincher and I have been working very closely to ensure that the police act strongly and swiftly in Shenstone near Lichfield over constant demonstrations at an Israeli company that supplies arms to the British armed forces. Two people went to trial at a magistrates court in Walsall and they were acquitted. It is reported—we do not know for sure because it is not a court of record—that the judge said

“on the principle of proportionality…their action was proportionate in comparison to the crimes against humanity which they were acting to stop”

by the Israelis. I think that, if it were true, is outrageous. What can be done within the judicial system to ensure that that sort of thing does not happen, if indeed it did?

My hon. Friend raises an important point about the independence of the judiciary. We have to be careful that we do not rely on reports by a third party, perhaps with a vested interest, because these cases are not reported officially. However, if he wishes to discuss any points of law that may lead to an appeal from the prosecuting authority, he can do so and I am happy to work with him and guide him on how that may be taken up with the Attorney General. In terms of any complaints about the behaviour of the judiciary, there is a clearly defined process that I am happy to discuss with my hon. Friend after today’s session.