It's been a bad week for…

Lay magistrates. That stalwart and representative body of men and women across the country who for years have handed down fines, sentences and opinions on local wrongdoers, could soon see themselves thrown off the bench. Under the latest set of ideas to come out of Lord Irvine's reforms factory, the existing network of courts run by independent JPs could be replaced by a new court system controlled by Whitehall and run by professional lawyers and judges. The Daily Mail, which often depends on lay magistartes for its headlines, described JPs as "a bastion of common sense and local knowledge, preserving justice from the grip of the state and professional lawyers."

UK advertisers wanting to sell in Poland. A new law has come into effect forbidding the use of foreign languages in Polish commercials or leaflets. Since the fall of communism in 1989, the country has seen foreign-language names and terminology take root in the language but now companies, and their ad agencies, must provide Polish translations, all contracts must be in the language and even business dealings must be conducted in Polish if one of the partners is Polish.