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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Tuesday 16 August 2016


If you are not allowed a word in edgeways at home, you might try and assert your authority in court by becoming a magistrate. It may not only be criminal cases you will be trying but cases with family issues such as those involving the welfare of children. 'Becoming a Magistrate in England and Wales: Guidance for Prospective Applicants' has just been updated and you will find it on www.gov.uk

You need to be at least 18 but if you have clocked up 65 years of not being allowed to speak, you have as much chance of being appointed as a store detective or traffic warden because they are among the select band of persons who are ineligible for appointment. Seeing a camouflaged store detective at work while out today reminded me that their legal powers to detain are no greater than those of a private citizen. If they force you to go with them (after you failed to show them a receipt because you were not given one and the goods were in your back pocket because you didn't want to spend five pence on a plastic bag) and it transpires you have stolen nothing, they and their employers are vulnerable to a  claim for damages for false imprisonment. That's a subject I take up in Breaking Law.

See you in court?