Administration and Organisation
In England the administration of criminal justice was always regarded as a local responsibility, on the principle that crime is a local matter and that the duty of apprehending and trying offenders should fall on those living in each area. The jury system developed from the same origins. Administering and financing the criminal courts rested therefore with the local community. This remained the position in all criminal courts until 1972 when the Crown Court, with its national court service financed by the state, replaced Assizes and Quarter Sessions; but the new system did not include the magistrates’ courts. They had not been within the terms of reference of the Beeching Commission because they did not suffer from delays to the same extent as the higher courts and to include them might have delayed the commission in making its recommendations, which were required urgently. Also, reforms in the administration of magistrates’ courts had been introduced within the previous twenty years under the Justices of the Peace Act 1949.1
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