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HMCTS (Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service) is recruiting 25 new magistrates in Lancashire and is welcoming applications from under represented groups.
From sentencing shoplifters, deciding whether the most serious offenders should be granted bail, or protecting children and adults from domestic abuse, magistrates play a key role in criminal and family court proceedings in the UK.
You do not need any legal qualifications and are granted time off work to fulfil this important role.
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Magistrates sit on a bench of three and can deal with minor offences such as theft or motoring offences and issue fines and short prison sentences.
More serious offences, such as robbery and murder, start in the Magistrates court but are sent to the crown court to be heard by a judge.
It is the magistrates role to decide whether to grant these defendants bail or remand them in custody while they await trial.
In the family courts, magistrates can help make decisions about the care of children or make orders to protect people from domestic abuse.
To become a magistrate you need to be aged 18-65 and be of good character, ie not convicted of any serious criminal offence, or bankrupt.
Candidates should be fair and open minded, with an awareness of social issues and the ability to understand documents and follow evidence.
You also need to commit to serving your community for a minimum of 13 days a year, and your employer must, by law, allow you this time. Allowances are available, and some employers grant paid leave to fulfil magistrates duties.
The Lancashire Bench is welcoming applications from all parts of the community, but under represented groups include people in employment, younger people and people from BAME communities.
Applications for the Criminal Bench are currently open in Lancashire and close at the end of May, with interviews taking place in June and July.
Applications for the Family Bench are expected to open later in the year.
For more information about becoming a magistrate, contact CL-Advisory.justice.gov.uk or visit ‘Become a Magistrate’ on the gov.uk website.