Magistrate’s blog / Laienrichterblog (Englisch)

The Law West of Ealing Broadway, by Bystander:

bq. The Magistrate’s Blog – Musings and Snippets from an English Magistrate (Justice of the Peace). This blog is anonymous, and Bystander’s views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

This looks very promising, and it has further links which I haven’t checked.

bq. Evidence is given on oath in court. Witnesses have the choice to affirm or to swear on the holy book of their choice. Court staff are trained to be sensitive in handling holy books, and unless the witness looks to be reasonably educated it is standard practice for the usher to ask him to repeat the oath, which is a sad but realistic reflection on the English education system that manages to give children a minimum of twelve years’ compulsory schooling that leaves a fifth of them unable to read competently, or even at all. Inevitably, some people finish off with the “So Help Me God” that they have seen on American TV programmes.

In Germany, witnesses are normally not sworn, because it is thought to weaken the oath if it’s overused. Sometimes they’re sworn afterwards, but usually the parties waive the right to have the witnesses sworn. At the beginning of a trial I’ve heard a Franconian judge say to the witnesses, ‘Ihr wisst fei, dass Ihr die Wahrheit sagen müsst?’ – To swear is schwören, to affirm is bekräftigen, but in my experience not all judges are aware of the variant without the Bible. Still, it may vary from place to place.

Note some interaction with a French legal blog.

Via Random Acts of Reality

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