Category Archives: Law

Mrs J. Boughton et al.: Youth Courts and British Justice – Part 2: The Trial

Mrs Boughton and Alan Russell returned to Chigwell, this time with fellow-magistrates John Boughton and Maureen Emmett. Two sessions, both involving preparing students to be the 3-person Bench, Defendant, Witness, and Prosecuting and Defending barristers, followed by a formal trial, with the Bench retiring before delivering their verdict. The case was cleverly chosen to allow some doubt, but was this doubt reasonable or not? Was the evidence agains the Defendant sufficient to convict? Our pupils were well coached, and performed impressively; perhaps several careers began today.

Mrs J. Boughton et al.: Youth Courts and British Justice: Part 1

Our own Mrs Boughton is a magistrate in Barking; today she brought along her colleague Alan Russell, and together they gave two sessions introducing various judicial ideas to our members. The sessions ended with a look at a case study, with the students invited to listen to arguments for and against a bail application on behalf of a teenage girl accused of robbery, and to make their decision as magistrates. This was all in preparation for our meeting in two weeks’ time when the Swallow Library will be converted into a courtroom for a full-scale trial.

Fairness in the law

All three WPs were encouraged by Law Commissioner Professor Cooke, of Reading University, to consider the idea of ‘fairness’ in law. How can lawyers produce arguments for and against rival solutions to complex problems? WP members were asked not to decide which was the fairest, but to devise arguments for and against the fairness of each one. Examples included:

  • restrictions on wearing religious symbols in schools;
  • how to settle a divorce with children to look after;
  • whether to enforce a bargain not made in writing.

A fascinating and challenging insight into clear thinking, seeing both sides without jumping to a single answer, and the world of the law.

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