Hats off to Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council for making a stand on access to justice. It has voted to reintroduce the historic ceremonial role of honorary recorder – a link between local democracy and the judiciary.
The unpaid position will boost civic pride and encourage an understanding of the judicial system by local residents. ‘The post is a purely civic and ceremonial one, which carries no formal duties or powers,’ says council leader Brendan Toomey. ‘However, responsibilities can include providing independent legal advice to the council’s mayor and chief executive if and when required, and acting as one of the mayor’s escorts at ceremonial civic events.’
Behind the pageantry is a serious purpose: helping to ensure the future of Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court. ‘We want to protect the jobs of support staff, raise the profile of the court and have in place a public figure who can advocate on its behalf,’ Toomey says.