The London Advocate

Advocate Issue 68

PUBLISHED March 2, 2012

Do you remember "joined up thinking"? It was a buzzphrase in government circles a few years ago. Maybe it should come back into fashion.

I wonder: did anyone in the Ministry of Justice realise that, at one and the same time, the magistrates' courts would be handling the "Stop Delaying Justice!" (SDJ) initiative, the CPS drive to work without paper, and a new way of employing interpreters? Such a time is almost upon us: since the New Year, SDJ has been encouraging benches to speed things up. As I write, the consequences of MoJ's contract with Applied Language Solutions (ALS) are being felt, with many cases delayed. And, when the CPS bring in their digital reforms (due on 1 April), the fun will really start!

Happily, the team which brings you the London Advocate thinks in a most joined-up way. In this issue, we are delighted to carry an interview with the chairman of the Magistrates' Association, John Fassenfelt, in which he addresses concerns - many expressed in our last issue - not only about SDJ but also about the way it was presented to magistrates via their training DVD. John F was also asked about the CPS journey into things digital - a topic which is more fully explored in these pages in Richard Atkinson's article (and by Bruce Reid). John also commented that he was happy about the sentences being passed on the summer's rioters while Emma Lipscombe, who was serving as a duty solicitor on the busiest night of that extraordinary time, gives another point of view.

As ever, we are grateful to all our contributors - not least to those who are helpful enough to contribute to our book reviews and letter pages - and to Lexis Nexis, who are now kindly supplying us with law reports.

Our (joined up) work goes on.