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Magistrates Courts

Volume 490: debated on Monday 23 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment his Department has made of the willingness of businesses to release employees to fulfil magistracy duties in the current economic situation. (263708)

My Department and advisory committees undertake continuous work with employers both to encourage them to support employees wishing to serve as magistrates, and to highlight the benefits to them of employees being trained, and serving as, magistrates.

The Government will continue to encourage employers to support employees who wish to serve as magistrates. Attracting those in full-time employment can impact positively on the diversity of the magistracy in respect of age. In 2008, of 1,700 new magistrates, 46 per cent. were under 50 years of age, compared to 19 per cent. in the magistracy as a whole.