• Essential Magistrates' Courts Law by Howard Riddle CBE and Judge Robert Zara - book cover

Essential Magistrates’ Courts Law

by Howard Riddle CBE and Judge Robert Zara

Paperback, Hardback

Price: £19.95£35.00


In this concise and valuable book the authors distil their vast expertise for the benefit of all those needing quick and targeted points of reference on key aspects of magistrates’ court law, whether as newcomers, justices, legal advisers, or criminal practitioners. Hugely informed and presented in an accessible format, it explains the central law, practice and procedure of these courts.

The framework of summary justice has changed comprehensively in the past decade in terms of evidence, procedure, guidelines, sentencing, training and the fair but efficient expedition of cases. This book sets out these developments as well as inescapable aspects of case management. Gathers core information in one place and sets out key processes in a manageable and readable way.


‘Readable and blissfully concise … There are some nuggets for every reader, however much we might think we know … An excellent addition to the bookshelf at a modest price’– The Law Society Gazette (external link).

‘It is hard to improve on the way that two of our distinguished colleagues SDJ Howard Riddle and DJ Robert Zara [describe the burden of proof] in Essential Magistrates Courts Law’– Stephen Leake, Editor Archbold Magistrates’ Court Practice, in Magistrate.

‘An ideal point if reference… an easily intelligible and practical explanation… Every criminal practice would benefit from having a copy of this book’– The London Advocate/Journal of the London Criminal Court Solicitors Association.

‘The explanations offered in the publication are thorough, yet presented in simple terms, such that any reader can understand the procedures required to be followed by magistrates in dealing with their cases … handily divided … much of the advice given in Essential Magistrates’ Courts Law on what needs to be considered by magistrates in the fulfilment of their duties is relevant to all judicial officers working in the courts.’– Commonwealth Judicial Journal.

‘Howard Riddle and Robert Zara have effectively produced a must-read for any judge, magistrate or lawyer practising in the magistrates’ courts. This book will become the reference book to carry to court… We thoroughly recommend it to all new judges, deputies and magistrates’— Emma Arbuthnot, Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate) for England and Wales; John Bache, Chairman of the Magistrates Association; Duncan Webster, Chairman, Magistrates’ Leadership Executive.

‘A very clear, succinct and practical guide which would be of great value to a pupil or junior practitioner finding their feet’— Anna Banfield, BPP.

‘How useful your book is and how clear and well written I have found it. Undoubtedly an extremely useful resource’— Tom Lees JP, Greater Manchester.


The authors are leading experts on the law, procedure and practice of magistrates’ courts with unrivalled practical experience and involvement in the system of summary justice. Howard Riddle was Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate) for England and Wales from 2010–2016 and is a law tutor and former practitioner in a legal aid firm of solicitors in East London. He was awarded the CBE for services to the administration of justice in 2018. Judge Robert Zara is a former solicitor who also worked in a law centre in Coventry before setting-up his own high street legal aid firm. From 2006–2009 he was the designated judge in charge of the Community Justice Court in Birmingham; and among other related involvements has also served for some years as a tutor for the Judicial College.

Additional information

Weight400 g
Dimensions234 × 156 × 15 mm




9781909976689, 9781909976986


Waterside Press



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Place of origin

United Kingdom

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