Recently retired I may be, but so many of my former comrades in arms still mired in those same trenches assure me that Ian Godfrey is right (‘Courts not fit for purpose’, letters, 20 November). Fitness for purpose in our magistrates’ courts flew out of the window as digitisation, virtual hearings and other technologies were substituted for meaningful training (save in the technology, naturally).
Also, forfeited far too often is an awareness of when to stop the clock in order to address reality and the imperative for all professional contributors to lift their heads from their notes and/or computer screens.
In that way, witnesses and defendants would become more than mere cyphers and hearings would no longer entail a mere joining up of the dots.
In the daily turmoil of first and even subsequent hearings, non-delivery of whatever we now call disclosure is a daily impediment to due process and the rule of law.
But then, it is a case of the Emperor’s new clothes all over again: far too many of those embroiled feel constrained to pretend that all is well.
Technology was, is and must always remain a tool leading to effective and better delivery of justice, rather than some silver bullet serving to dispel all anxieties over adequate resourcing and over the need across the board for professional, quality delivery.
We need to tell it how it is rather than continue to fret over being in compliance – let us have more regard to the dictionary meaning of that sinister word.
Malcolm Fowler is a solicitor and higher-court advocate, Birmingham