Volunteers wanted to make sure justice is seen to be done

A public-interest charity is recruiting volunteers to become the eyes and ears of their community in Croydon’s courts.

Enjoy your day in court: Transform Justice wants you to volunteer as an observer

Every courtroom has a public gallery but that usually houses only witnesses and friends and family of the defendants. Now Transform Justice is coming to Croydon to bolster community engagement in the courts through courtwatching.

But most criminal cases are actually heard in magistrates’ courts and most people who are prosecuted for crime plead guilty. The local magistrates court is open every weekday, Saturday morning and bank holidays and is open to any member of the public.

Transform Justice said, “Wander in and you can watch real cases being resolved by magistrates and district judges – people pleading guilty or not guilty, being granted bail, being remanded in custody, tried, acquitted, convicted.”

CourtWatch London aims to encourage and support people to visit their local magistrates’ court and to gather evidence from observers about what is going on.

According to one volunteer, “Just one day seriously challenged my assumptions about what goes on in the courtroom. I was impressed, saddened, and frustrated in quick succession – quite the rollercoaster! I also learned a lot about what’s going on in my local community.”

Transform Justice said, “We hear local courts are becoming dilapidated, cases are getting delayed, more people are being sent to prison, but what is the reality? Why not find out by joining CourtWatch London.”

Transform Justice is recruiting volunteers to observe magistrates’ courts in Bow, Highbury and in Croydon.

“Any adult can sign up to observe and the time commitment is flexible – from one day observing to many. Volunteer observers will receive training in what the court looks like, what to look out for and how to report on what they have seen.”

If you are interested in observing your local magistrates’ court, just click here, or email courtwatch@transformjustice.org.uk to sign up.

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at inside.croydon@btinternet.com
  • As featured on Google News Showcase
  • Our comments section on every report provides all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Activities, Community associations, Crime and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Volunteers wanted to make sure justice is seen to be done

  1. Ian Kierans says:

    Very interesting and a good idea.

  2. chris myers says:

    Since the Sadvertiser folded Croydon has been bereft of local newspapers – this is, was, their most important duty. So thank heavens for IC! I’ll leave it up to your editor team to tell us whether that long-lost, much-missed qualified as a newspaper.

    • The Sadvertiser still exists. Just.

      But they, like all media, tended to rely on a court reporting service that does not still exist. Even with hefty subsidies of Retch’s local papers from the BBC, through the local democracy reporter scheme, the absence of court reporting is a glaring omission in coverage of the struggling justice system.

      Although Chris Philp will claim that everything with the courts system is just dandy, and if it isn’t, then it’s Sadiq Khan’s fault.

      • Sarah Bird says:

        Chris Philip would be well advised to read The Secret Barrister’s books. George and Amal Clooney have set up an similar international scheme

Leave a Reply