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Archive -> Autobiography -> ‘As a Tale That is Told’ Extract 58 Page 200-201

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‘As a Tale That is Told’ Extract 58 Page 200-201

Decided to become a Justice of the Peace

Twelve Years on  County Bench

“None so rude and uneducated but you shall go underfoot
“of them, none so criminal but you shall when the
“occasion serves go underfoot of them, none so outcast
“but they shall pass along you and not even notice that
“you are there”.
Edward Carpenter

“Of being a magistrate or a judge and never having
“committed a common crime or been in a position to
“commit one”.
Edward Carpenter

1. The Bench
During the last few years there has been much criticism of the way in which the law is administered on County and Borough Benches by lay Magistrates and by a lay Chairman, and much criticism of the personnel of these Benches, so that perhaps a simple account of twelve years’ experience on a County and Borough Bench meeting once a week may be of interest, both to county Justices and to the general public who are affected by the way in which the law is administered.

And an account by a woman may be especially interesting because it is only comparatively of recent years that the centuries old privilege of being a magistrate

200

has been extended to women, so that it is likely that a woman’s point of view may be fresher and less influenced by tradition than that of men Justices.

Anyway, I have tried to give an unprejudiced account of my experience and reactions to that experience during twelve years and for eight of those years as the only woman on a County Bench.

When I saw in the papers many years ago while I was doing social work of various kinds in London, that a woman had been appointed to sit as a Justice of the Peace, I felt that there was nothing I so much wished for as that I might share this privilege.
I had never had the least wish to sit in Parliament or on a Borough or County Council, but the idea of administering Justice appealed to me very strongly.
ed than shutting up the sufferers in Prisons.
 



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‘As a Tale That is Told’ Extract 58 Page 200-201