Skip to main content

Magistrates: Public Appointments

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking to encourage the appointment of more magistrates from areas which experience the highest levels of crime and antisocial behaviour; and if he will make a statement. (185007)

Her Majesty’s Courts Service in liaison with the Advisory Committee will determine how many magistrates are needed and recruitment campaigns are run locally.

The need is based on workload forecasts which take account of anticipated number of cases coming to the magistrates court including criminal and antisocial behaviour cases. They also take into account projected retirements; possible resignations; average sitting days; bench make-up (responsibility to ensure that the magistracy is reflective of the communities it serves in terms of gender, ethnic origin, age, disability, geographical spread, occupation and industry); local workload data; resources and the use of district judges (magistrates courts).

Specific initiatives to encourage the recruitment and diversity of magistrates include: advertising materials to raise the profile of recruitment campaigns; information including a DVD that gives extensive and accessible information about the qualities and commitment required; a dedicated website; and awareness raising schemes including magistrates in the community, mock trials, and the magistrates shadowing scheme.