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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

58 years of service: A remarkable journey of dedication and justice

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Crime, Interviews, Working at HMCTS

[English] - [Cymraeg]


In an organisation with many people dedicating their whole career to public service, few could beat Brian's contribution.  

He started working for HMCTS in the magistrates’ courts in January 1966, and in January 2024 will celebrate his 80th birthday and 58th year of working for the courts system, making him one of our longest serving members of staff.

With a career spanning as long as Brian’s, he’s seen it all – from infamous London gangsters to high profile footballers in the dock and even appearing on the front of the News of the World, he certainly has a story or two to share. Ahead of his 58th work anniversary, we sat down with Brian to find out more about his extraordinary career and mark his exceptional contribution to public service.  

He originally started his career as an usher court assistant at the old Thames Magistrates’ Court, after a tip off from his soon to be father-in-law who worked with someone whose son worked at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court. Brian admits he didn’t know a great deal about the work of the courts or quite what to expect before he joined: 

Like a lot of people, I knew magistrates’ court hearings were something that happened. But beyond that, I didn't know anything at all, so I was going in with a very, very open mind as to what was going to happen. I knew prison vans came in and out every now and again, and there were lots of police officers around. Offences took place, but I didn't know the depth of the work that was done in a magistrates’ court. It was intriguing. It was interesting. It was a challenge, I suppose, totally different to what I'd been doing in the past.

Brian worked his way up before qualifying as a legal adviser in 1970 and eventually becoming bench legal manager at Barking and Barkingside Magistrates’ Court where he was responsible for training the magistrates and committee work. No two days in the courts are the same, and it’s the variety of the role and the range of people involved that Brian really enjoys: 

I've got to know some fantastic people over the years from many various walks of life. At one time I was responsible for over 200 magistrates, and they came from such varied walks of life. One day I could be sitting with three housewives, the next day I could be sitting with three trade union members, or I could have a mixture of both in, and the housewife could be the one in the in the chair in the middle. It's the variety of people that I work with, that’s the beauty of it, and not knowing when you go into work what's going to happen.

Brian and team celebrating his outstanding landmark.

He has also trained many legal advisers over his career and shared a few tips for ensuring new joiners felt welcomed to the courts: 

I enjoy being able to impart the knowledge I've gained to others. It is a feather in your cap for someone to come and say “What's this? Where do I go? How do I deal with this matter?” and you're able to answer it very quickly.

The first thing you should show someone when they come into the building are the toilets. Because to get there, you've probably got to go past a number of offices. And going past those offices, you're seeing lots of different people to introduce them to which really helps where we've got to work closely to with each other.

Brian is clearly very well-liked and respected by those who he’s trained, including Tom Ring, now Deputy Director of Legal Operations. Tom started out under Brian at Barking when he joined HMCTS in 1987 and reflected on some of his memories of him: 

Brian was the very experienced Deputy Justices’ Clerk at that time. He supervised me in court on many occasions and I learned a great deal about ‘court craft’ from him. I think that it was shortly after HM Courts Service was formed in 2005 that we needed a safe pair of hands to take on a particular court which had a few problems, and Brian was asked to step in.

When I worked with him, Brian was very popular with the magistrates and was trusted by them. He was also greatly respected by the advocates. In the days when we had a licensing jurisdiction (betting and gaming and liquor) he was very knowledgeable about this area of law. He and I did our Children Act training together in the early 1990s, and he regularly covered the Family Proceedings Court (as it was then known) and dealt with complex public law cases. He could be trusted with any difficult case.

Brian also shared his advice for those considering a career as a legal adviser or those just starting out: 

Never ever take anything for granted. Never be frightened to say I don't know. Never be frightened to ask. Enjoy what you do but bear in mind that doing your job can mean that someone at the end of the day loses their liberty. And no matter what happens inside or outside the courtroom, always be very professional.

His sage advice is testament to his humanity towards those who find themselves at the court – one of HMCTS’ core values: 

I've always tried to impress on people that the most important person in the courtroom is not me,  it's not the magistrates, it's not the representatives. It's the defendant or the person who's in the witness box giving evidence, potentially for the first time. And whatever happens, it’s that person who's going to be affected by whatever the magistrates have decided using my legal advice. It's got to be simple, easy and straightforward for them to understand. Those are the people that are important. We're not. We’re a means to an end. That end affects them.

Brian has now worked for the courts service for an incredible 58 years.

And he clearly has a passion for the work of the courts and the satisfaction he gets from helping those in court and told us he has no plans to retire anytime soon:  

I think there are very few people that I've met who can say that they've enjoyed their working life as much as I have. I’m still happy with what I'm doing. I'm supported by my wife, who always says “You do what you want to do. I don't want you at home doing nothing!”, so I'm totally supported by her.

I feel very grateful that I've reached this age and I still I'm able to do what I do. I keep up with everything and I can still contribute to what's happening in the court structure. I enjoy every day that I do. I've never had a situation where I don't want to go to work  because I love what I do. I still enjoy it and I enjoy the people that I work with.

I'm not a very practical person, with ‘do-it-yourself’, or gardening or anything like that. There’s fulfilment for me in what I do. I enjoy my Wednesday, Thursday and Friday when I'm off. But I know that on Monday and Tuesday I’m going to be back, doing what I enjoy most. It's my gardening. It's my do-it-yourself. It's what I enjoy doing.

And there will come a day, no doubt when I will get up and I will say I don't think I want to do this again and that will be the day when I would say that's it, I'm finished.

From everyone at HMCTS – a massive thank you to Brian for his dedication over the past 58 years. We all wish him the very best as he celebrates his 80th birthday with his family.


[English] - [Cymraeg]


Dathlu 58 mlynedd o wasanaeth - blynyddoedd maith o ymroddiad a gweinyddu cyfiawnder

Mewn sefydliad lle mae cymaint o bobl yn ymroi eu gyrfa’n llwyr i wasanaeth cyhoeddus, mae’n anodd meddwl am neb sy’n gallu curo cyfraniad Brian Gilbert.  Dechreuodd weithio i GLlTEF yn y llys ynadon ym mis Ionawr 1966 ac yn ystod mis Ionawr eleni bydd yn dathlu ei benblwydd yn 80 oed a 58 mlynedd o weithio yn y llysoedd.  Does syndod felly ei fod yn un o’n staff sydd wedi rhoi’r gwasanaeth hwyaf i ni.

O gael gyrfa mor faith mae ganddo sawl stori i’w rhannu ac mae wedi gweld llawer yn ymddangos yn y doc – o droseddwyr mwyaf enwog Llundain i bêl-droedwyr adnabyddus ac mae hyd yn oed wedi ymddangos ar dudalen flaen y News of the World.  Wrth iddo ddathlu 58 mlynedd o wasanaeth bu i ni gael sgwrs gydag ef i gael gwybod mwy am ei yrfa arbennig ac i nodi ei gyfraniad anhygoel i wasanaeth cyhoeddus.

Dechreuodd Brian ei yrfa fel tywysydd cynorthwyol yn hen Lys Ynadon Tafwys a hynny yn sgïl ei ddarpar dad yng nghyfraith a oedd yn gweithio efo rhywun a oedd a’i fab yn gweithio yn Llys Ynadon Bow Street  yn sôn wrtho am y swydd.

Cyfaddefodd nad oedd yn gwybod nemor ddim am waith y llys na beth i’w ddisgwyl cyn dechrau ar ei waith:

Fel lot o bobl, ron i’n gwybod bod na wrandawiadau mewn llys ynadon, ond ac eithrio hynny, ychydig iawn a wyddwn ac felly roedd gen i feddwl agored o ran yr hyn i’w ddisgwyl.  Ron i’n gwybod bod cerbydau cludo carcharorion yn galw yn aml a bod lot o swyddogion heddlu o gwmpas.  Roedd troseddu yn digwydd ond don i ddim yn gwybod hyd a lled y gwaith oedd yn cymryd lle mewn llys ynadon.  Roedd yn ddiddorol, yn ennyn diddordeb ac yn heriol.  Roedd yn gwbl wahanol i’r hyn roeddwn wedi ei wneud o’r blaen.

Gweithiodd Brian ei ffordd i fyny’r ysgol gan gymhwyso fel cynghorydd cyfreithiol yn 1970 ac ymhen amser daeth yn rheolwr cyfreithiol y fainc yn Llys Ynadon Barking a Barkingside lle roedd yn gyfrifol am hyfforddi ynadon a gwaith pwyllgor.  Roedd y gwaith yn amrywio o ddydd i ddydd a’r amrywiaeth hyn ynghyd â’r bobl oedd yn apelio fwyaf ato:

Dwi wedi cael dod i adnabod pobl ffantastig dros y blynyddoedd a hynny o bob cefndir.  Ar un cyfnod roeddwn yn gyfrifol am dros 200 o ynadon o gefndiroedd amrywiol.  Un diwrnod fe allwn fod yn eistedd gyda thair gwraig tŷ a’r diwrnod canlynol yn eistedd gyda thri o aelodau undebau llafur, neu mi fedrwn fod efo cymysgedd o’r ddau gyda gwraig tŷ yn y canol yn cadeirio.  Gweithio gyda chymaint o amrywiaeth o bobl a dim yn gwybod beth oedd o’ch blaen wrth fynd i’ch gwaith bob dydd, oedd yn apelio ataf.

Brian and team celebrating his outstanding landmark.

Bu i Brian hefyd hyfforddi nifer o gynghorwyr cyfreithiol yn ystod ei yrfa gan rannu ambell i gyngor ar sut i groesawu rhai newydd i’r llys:

Rwy’n mwynhau gallu rhannu yr wybodaeth dwi wedi ei chasglu gydag eraill. Mae’n brofiad braf gallu ateb yn sydyn pan fo rhywun yn dod atoch a gofyn “Be di hyn? Lle ddylwn i fynd?  Sut dwi’n delio efo hyn?”

Y peth cyntaf y dylech ei ddangos i rywun sy’n dod i’r adeilad ydy’r toiledau.  I gyrraedd y toiledau mae’n bur debygol y bydd angen mynd heibio nifer o swyddfeydd ac wrth wneud hynny dach chi’n gweld lot o bobl gwahanol y gallwch eu cyflwyno sy’n help mawr pan fo angen gweithio’n agos efo nhw.

Mae Brian yn boblogaidd ac uchel ei barch gan y rhai y bu’n eu hyfforddi, gan gynnwys Tom Ring sydd bellach yn Ddirprwy Gyfarwyddwr Gweithrediadau Cyfreithiol.  Dechreuodd Tom o dan adain Brian yn Barking pan ymunodd gyda GLlTEF yn 1987 a dyma rai o’i atgofion amdano:

Ar y pryd roedd Brian yn Ddirprwy Glerc yr Ynadon profiadol iawn.  Bu’n fy arolygu yn y llys ar sawl achlysur a dysgais lawer am ‘grefft y llys’ ganddo.  Yn fuan ar ôl sefydlu Gwasanaeth Llysoedd EF yn 2005 roedd arnom angen rhywun dibynadwy a phrofiadol i edrych ar ôl llys a oedd gyda chryn dipyn o broblemau a gofynnwyd i Brian wneud hynny.

Pan roeddwn yn gweithio efo Brian roedd yn eithriadol o boblogaidd ymysg yr ynadon ac roeddynt yn ymddiried ynddo.  Roedd hefyd yn uchel ei barch gan yr eiriolwyr. Yn y cyfnod hynny lle roedd gennym awdurdodaeth dros drwyddedu (betio, gemau a gwirodydd) roedd yn wybodus iawn yn y maes cyfreithiol hwn. Bu i ni’n dau wneud ein hyfforddiant Deddf Plant gyda’n gilydd yn y 90au cynnar ac roedd yn aml iawn yn helpu efo gwaith achos y Llys Teulu (fel y’i gelwid bryd hynny) gan ddelio gydag achosion cyfraith gyhoeddus cymhleth iawn.  Gellid ymddiried ynddo i ddelio gydag unrhyw achos anodd.

Bu i Brian hefyd roi cyngor i’r rhai sy’n ystyried gyrfa fel cynghorydd cyfreithiol neu rai sydd megis yn cychwyn ar eu gyrfa:

Peidiwch byth â chymryd dim byd yn ganiataol.  Peidiwch â bod ofn dweud nad ydych yn gwybod yr ateb a pheidiwch â bod ofn gofyn.  Mwynhewch eich gwaith ond cofiwch bod gwneud hynny weithiau yn gallu golygu bod rhywun yn gallu colli eu rhyddid. Beth bynnag beth sy’n digwydd y tu mewn neu’r tu allan i’r ystafell llys, byddwch yn broffesiynol trwy’r amser

Mae cyngor doeth Brian yn cyd-fynd gyda’i ddynoliaeth tuag at y rhai sy’n gorfod dod i’r llys – un o werthoedd creiddiol GLlTEF:

Rwyf wastad wedi ceisio dylanwadu ar bobl mai nid y fi, na’r ynadon na’r eiriolwyr ydy’r bobl bwysicaf yn y llys, ond yn hytrach y diffynnydd neu’r person sy’n rhoi tystiolaeth, a hynny o bosibl am y tro cyntaf.  Beth bynnag fydd y canlyniad, y person hynny sy’n cael ei effeithio arno gan benderfyniad yr ynadon yn seiliedig ar fy nghyngor cyfreithiol i.  Mae’n rhaid cadw pethau’n syml, yn hawdd a di-lol fel y gallant ddeall.  Y rhain yw’r bobl bwysig.  Tyda ni ddim. Yma i helpu’r ynadon wneud penderfyniad yda ni, a’r penderfyniad hynny sy’n effeithio arnynt hwy.

Brian has now worked for the courts service for an incredible 58 years.

Mae’n amlwg bod Brian yn angerddol am waith y llysoedd a’r boddhad mae’n ei gael o helpu y rhai sy’n dod i’r llys a dywedodd nad yw’n bwriadu ymddeol yn y dyfodol agos:

Dwi ddim yn credu bod llawer o bobl rwyf wedi eu cyfarfod sy’n gallu dweud eu bod wedi mwynhau gweithio gymaint ag yr ydw i.  Dwi dal yn hapus efo’r hyn dwi’n ei wneud.  Mae fy ngwraig yn gefnogol iawn i mi ac wastad yn dweud “Ti’n gwneud yr hyn ti isio ei wneud.  Dw i’m isio chdi yn y tŷ yn gwneud dim byd!”, felly dwi’n cael ei chefnogaeth hi.

Dwi’n ddiolchgar iawn fy mod wedi cyrraedd yr oedran hwn ac yn dal i allu gwneud be dwi’n wneud.  Dwi’n cadw fyny efo bob dim a dwi’n dal i allu cyfrannu i’r hyn sy’n digwydd o fewn strwythur y llysoedd.  Dwi’n mwynhau pob diwrnod dwi’n weithio.  Dw i erioed wedi cael sefyllfa lle dwi ddim isio mynd i weithio oherwydd dwi’n caru yr hyn dw i’n ei wneud.  Dwi dal i fwynhau a mwynhau gweithio efo fy nghydweithwyr.

Dw i ddim yn berson ymarferol iawn efo  ‘diy’, garddio a dim byd felly.  Mae fy moddhad yn dod o’r hyn dwi’n ei wneud.  Dwi’n mwynhau fy nyddiau i ffwrdd o’r gwaith ar ddyddiau Mercher, Iau a Gwener.  Dwi’n gwybod pan fyddai’n ôl yn fy ngwaith ar ddydd Llun a dydd Mawrth y byddaf yn gwneud be dwi’n fwynhau orau.  Dyma fy ngarddio a’m diy i mi.  Dyma be dwi’n ei fwynhau.

Heb os, fe ddaw’r dydd pan fyddaf yn codi ac yn cyfaddef i fi fy hun nad ydw i eisiau gwneud hyn mwyach a dyna’r dydd lle byddaf yn dweud ‘dyna hi, dwi’n rhoi’r gorau iddi.

Ar ran pawb ohonom yn GLlTEF hoffem ddiolch o waelod calon i Brian am ei ymroddiad dros 58 mlynedd a dymuno’n dda wrth iddo ddathlu ei benblwydd yn 80 oed efo’i deulu.

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  1. Comment by Leanne posted on

    Happy 80th Birthday Brian. Thank you for the advice you've given in this article, it's definitely struck a chord with me. Long may you continue enjoying your Mondays and Tuesdays.

    • Replies to Leanne>

      Comment by Brian Gilbert posted on

      Thank you so much for your comment.

  2. Comment by Diana E Rowland posted on

    Well done Bri, from everyone at Port Talbot Justice Centre- what a legend !!!

    • Replies to Diana E Rowland>

      Comment by Charan Singh posted on

      Well done Brian and Happy 80th Birthday. I, too, have been in the Court Service for numerous years, 34 to be exact, and enjoyed every minute of it. People don't believe me when I say I have never not wanted to come to work!
      I have now taken partial retirement and work 3 days a week which suits me fine and keeps the old gray matter ticking over!!

    • Replies to Diana E Rowland>

      Comment by Brian Gilbert posted on

      Thank you Port Talbot.

  3. Comment by Brian Gilbert posted on

    Thank you Charan. We are in a unique organisation and to enjoy what we do in this day and age is a bonus.

  4. Comment by Del Hunter posted on

    A great man, very committed to serving the community. I would say Brian ranks amongst the irreplaceable.

    • Replies to Del Hunter>

      Comment by Brian Gilbert posted on

      Thank you Del we have learned a lot from each other.
      Kind regards. Brian