Presentments what they are and how to write them
Each year at the Court & Law Day ceremony of Ashburton's ancient Courts Leet & Baron on the fourth Tuesday in November, the juries sit to hear a number of "presentments". The hearing of presentments is an important aspect of the Courts' business in ensuring their continuity (see the Administration of Justice Act, 1977).
What is a Presentment?
A presentment is simply the act of presenting to an authority a formal statement of a matter to be dealt with.
The Courts can bring to the attention of any relevant body anything they are concerned or unhappy with and also congratulatory presentments. This is done by “presenting” it at Court & Law Day after due consideration at the November meeting. Each presentment must be proposed, seconded and voted on by the respective Jury.
Making presentments is one way in which the Courts can contribute to improving the welfare of the community that we are a part of.
Writing a Presentment
Our praise and thanks!
A presentment begins "We present..." and then continues with the matter to be presented. Some recent examples include:
"We present our praise and thanks to all essential workers both medical and all other services that have worked so tirelessly throughout the Covid 19 pandemic to keep us all safe."
"We present our dismay at the state of ill repair of the footway between Great Bridge and Westerbrook..."
The presentments are recorded by the foreman of the relevant Jury
Presentments should not relate to internal matters, concerning the two juries and should not be of a political nature.
What Happens with the Presentments?
Each presentment is read on Law Day, at the meeting of the relevant Jury, by the Foreman. The Jury then decides how to take the presentment forward - it may simply be recorded in the Court Books as a matter of record or a letter may be written to the appropriate authority or organisation to make them aware of the matter raised.
During the Spring Meeting of the Courts any responses or progress relating to the presentments is reviewed and any possible follow-up action may be discussed.
How Do I Make a Presentment?
Any member of the Leet or Baron Juries may make a presentment. Simply send your presentment in writing to the foreman of your jury, or the Steward at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Presentments must be received before the Pre-Court & Law Day meeting in November.