Baddow & Galleywood

November 2017 Speaker

The November meeting of Baddow & Galleywood U3A was well attended and we were pleased to welcome Barry Willden who came to tell us about becoming a magistrate. He began by giving us some history about the Justice system in our country which started about 650 years ago, in the time of Edward III.

The Justices of the Peace were titled landowners and this was when areas of England were divided into ‘Hundreds’. In later years County towns held Petty Sessions for minor offences four times a year and these became ‘The County Quarter Sessions’. In the mid 1800s formal court rooms were established, usually in Pubs and Inns!! Once we arrived in the 20th Century county courts were formally established and in 1919 the first female magistrate was appointed.

From the 1970’s magistrates were selected from applicants from the local community. They are unpaid volunteers who receive minimal expenses and are expected to be available for service most days of the year apart from national holidays. Questions were asked about how people were chosen for Jury Service and how the Magistrate and Jury finally decide on the verdict.

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