Separate roles are inefficient

I refer to Mrs Nichols' letter in The Lawyer, 23 September. Her assertion that there are serious practical and management difficulties inherent in the joint appointment of a justices chief executive/justices clerk, is not shared by those I represent and of whom the majority hold joint appointments.

It is our experience, rather than Mrs Nichols' opinion, which leads us to believe that joint appointments smooth the passage of both management and legal processes, rather than hindering them.

It is perhaps interesting to note that in the Health Service the separation of roles of practitioner and manager is being reversed in favour of similiar joint appointments quite simply because the complete separation of roles (as presumably Mrs Nichols advocates) causes inefficiency, wasted resources, discussion and conflict.

As we approach the 21st century, those of us who serve the Magistrates' Courts Service might be advised to approach such issues on a more pragmatic and common-sensical basis rather than seeking to rely on outdated ideological dogma.

Eric Packer, Chair, Wimbledon Magistrates' Court.