Magistrates, SRA promises, and human rights in Iran: your letters to the editor


Jury’s out on magistrates

You recently quoted from the letter which Beverley Higgs, chair of the Magistrates’ Association, wrote to the Guardian on 8 October (Seen & Heard, 18 October).


The Guardian published my reply to the letter on 11 October.


I hope Ms Higgs read it.


The point needs to be made that it is not just a question of ‘if only our jurisdiction could be increased to 12-month sentences for a single offence we could help reduce the backlog’.


Magistrates can try cases where the sentence may be 12 months, although they cannot impose that penalty.


It would be necessary to introduce legislation to deprive defendants of the right to a jury trial. There would be strong opposition as this is a precious right and reform has been rejected in the past.


Many members of the public will feel juries have even higher values of fairness and justice.


Alasdair Darroch

Retired circuit judge and former solicitor-advocate, Horstead, Norfolk


Will the SRA keep its promises?

There follows an open letter that I recently submitted to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.


Dear SRA,


Many years ago, when I was a newly qualified solicitor, your predecessor compelled me to pay money into the Solicitors Indemnity Fund, irrespective of my ability to pay, as a precondition of continuing to practise as a solicitor. In exchange, you promised unconditionally that you would indemnify me against any claims made against me without time limit.


I kept my side of this bargain because I had no choice.


I am now approaching retirement and I just ask you to keep your side of the bargain. After all, it is my money you have.


Trevor F Moore

Ibstock, Leicestershire 


Human rights in Iran

As members who are dedicated to defending human rights, for many years we shared a longstanding commitment to human rights in Iran with Sir David Amess, whose shared vision of and commitment to justice, equality and the rule of law has been absent in Iran for too long. Many of us have shared a platform with Sir David. He will be sorely missed but will be there with us all in spirit on that same platform.


Denise Lester; Linda Lee; Lucy Scott-Moncrieff; Maria Memoli; Malcolm Fowler; Nwabueze Nwokolo; Sara Chandler; Tim O’Sullivan; Tony Fisher