Some may think that the reforms proposed by Chris Grayling go too far. However, a modest series of changes will ensure considerable savings for the exchequer.
For a start, the suspect at the police station will no longer have a visit from a solicitor. Instead, they will be afforded a 30-minute video interview with a representative operating out of a call centre conveniently and charmingly situated in Timbuktu. On arrival at court, the defendant will be given the choice of not being represented, paying for it themselves or having the duty solicitor (who will be financially incentivised to tell everyone to plead guilty).
Those who insist on asserting their innocence will not be represented by a solicitor at trial (unless they pay for it themselves). Instead, they will have the services of an unqualified McKenzie friend who will be paid a third of the present rates. The prosecutor will be an unqualified person appearing by videolink from Timbuktu (see above).
All the magistrates will be sacked and replaced by district judges. Given that they process the work three times faster than magistrates, three times more work can be put into their courts, thus allowing the government to close two-thirds of court centres. Also, as qualified lawyers they will sit without legal advisers (who will all be sacked).
The Crown court will be left largely as is (to keep the senior judiciary happy), but the sentencing guidelines will be altered to make it virtually impossible to send anything there, which will mean a consequent saving on prison places.
You think I am joking? Let’s see how many of these ‘reforms’ are introduced over the next 10 years…
John Cooper, Warslow, Buxton, Derbyshire