Monday, 3 August 2015
Grayling as Justice Minister abolished access to justice, he did not 'erode' it
Guest blog piece by Rev'd Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Justice
THE GUARDIAN IS SOFT ON CHRIS GRAYLING
"Eroding" access to justice is too generous a word to describe to the introduction of a surcharge in the Magistrates Courts by Chris Grayling, the Minister of Justice, of up to £1200 without any consultation just before the election.
"Abolishing" access to justice would be closer to reality. It devastates the poorest citizens who cannot pay for a TV licence, a bus or a train ticket, or whose children are persistent truants; they are are prosecuted as criminals.
Simultaneously the jobcentres are stopping people's incomes with a sanction from one month to three years. Sanctions are draconian punishments by the jobcentres without a fair trial.
If the magistrates are to take into account that loss of means and any vulnerable circumstances in setting a proportionate fine there has to be a trial. But the guilty and not guilty sanctioned persons are unlikely to go to court and risk the new surcharges.
They will therefore be fined £200 plus £150 costs in their absence, which they cannot pay. The enforcement process then leads to the bailiffs on the doorstep demanding immediate payment of the fine plus costs of £350 plus their fees of £265.
The surcharge should suspended immediately.