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A lively investigation of the magistracy at a time when the UK justice system faces great changes There are 30,000 serving JPs or lay magistrates, who deal with more than 90 per cent of all criminal cases in England and Wales; yet they are all volunteers, drawn from local communities, with no legal training or special qualifications, and are not paid a penny for what they do.
Interweaving his own personal experience of becoming a magistrate in north London with general observations, relevant interviews and a little history, Trevor Grove takes us on a fascinating journey into this extraordinary and unique institution. He has travelled all over the country to observe how crime and courts differ from region to region.
He has visited jails and Young Offenders' Institutions and has interviewed all of the principal players, from the Lord Chief Justice to more integral figures such as justices' clerks, ushers, solicitors, local police and offenders. His journey uncovers a remarkable act of national faith in the good sense of ordinary people, which speaks volumes about the strength and health of our democracy.