It is a strange little world, that of the deputy district judge, particularly those retired who come back and sit a few times a month.
Every month a list is sent out of perhaps a hundred unfilled court sittings around the country. It is first come, first served for venues. About halfway through the month a shorter list is sent out of dates not filled. At the very end of the month comes the desperation list.
More often than not, these dates go unfilled. That means that in some far-flung outposts there will be litigants diligently preparing, often nervously, for a hearing that matters a great deal to them. They will be disappointed to have the hearing postponed – perhaps not for the first time. A great deal of time and money will be wasted.
How can this be fair to the public who access the courts? It seems that there are simply not enough judges to fulfil the demand.
I am not surprised, since some years ago when I sat as recorder I could be faced with a list of 10 cases all likely to run. The first 20 minutes were spent hearing desperate pleas from counsel to establish the pecking order. Inevitably, when two cases fought, there would be two or three never reached.
John Greenwood, retired recorder, Chippenham, Wiltshire.