Draw a spider diagram
• What do you already know about magistrates?
• As this presentation continues see if you can
add to your spider diagram
• If not then you all ready know it all,
Key part of Criminal Justice System
• Magistrates' courts are a key part of the criminal
justice system and 95% of cases are completed
• In addition magistrates' courts deal with many
civil cases e.g. family matters, liquor licensing and
betting and gaming.
• For over 600 years Justices of the Peace have held
courts in order to punish law breakers, resolve
local disputes and keep order in the community.
What’s a stipendiary magistrate?
• In addition, there are also about 130 District Judges.
District judges in magistrates' courts are required to
have at least seven years experience as a Barrister or
Solicitor and two years experience as a Deputy District
• They sit alone and deal with more complex or sensitive
cases e.g. cases arising from Extradition Act, Fugitive
Offenders Act and Serious Fraud. Until August 2000
these District Judges were known as Stipendiary
Magistrates, but were renamed in order to recognise
them as members of the professional judiciary
Who are Magistrates?
• Magistrates are members of the local community
appointed by the Lord Chancellor.
• No formal qualifications are required but magistrates
need intelligence, common sense, integrity and the
capacity to act fairly. Membership should be widely
spread throughout the area covered and drawn from
all walks of life.
• All magistrates are carefully trained before sitting and
continue to receive training throughout their service.
• Magistrates are unpaid volunteers but they may
receive allowances to cover travelling expenses and
Powers of Magistrates
• Magistrates cannot normally order sentences
of imprisonment that exceed 6 months (or 12
months for consecutive sentences), or fines
exceeding £5000. In cases triable either way
(in either the magistrates' court or the Crown
Court) the offender may be committed by the
magistrates to the Crown Court for sentencing
if a more severe sentence is thought
• Magistrates or Justices of the Peace (JPs) are
volunteers from all walks of life who deal with
around 95 per cent of criminal cases in
England and Wales, including many of the
crimes that most affect the public, such as
How much time will it take up?
• You need to be able to commit at least 26 half-
days per year to sit in court (employers are
required by law to grant reasonable time off work
• Magistrates are not paid for their services.
• However, many employers allow time off with
pay for magistrates.
• If you do suffer loss of earnings you may claim a
loss allowance at a set rate. You can also claim
allowances for travel and subsistence.
Who can be appointed?
• Magistrates can be appointed from the age of 18
and they must retire at 70.
• However, the Lord Chancellor will not generally
appoint anyone aged 65 or over.
• Selection is based entirely on merit and
applications are welcome from all sections of the
community regardless of gender, ethnicity,
religion or sexual orientation.
• You don't need legal or academic qualifications to
be a magistrate and full training is provided.
• As a magistrate, you will sit in your local
magistrates' court dealing with a wide range of
less serious criminal cases and civil matters. Some
of your duties will include:
• determining whether a defendant is guilty or not
and passing the appropriate sentence
• deciding on requests for remand in custody
• deciding on applications for bail
• committing more serious cases to the Crown
• With experience and
further training you
could also go on to deal
with cases in the family
and youth courts.
Training For Youth Court
• You will undertake a training programme to help
you develop all the knowledge and skills you will
need to serve as a magistrate.
• This is given locally by your Justices' Clerk (legal
advisor) or a member of his or her team.
• You will be in a group with other new magistrates
recruited at the same time as you.
• Training will be given using a variety of methods,
which may include pre-course reading, small-
group work, use of case studies, computer-based
training and CCTV.
Who sits in court?
• Magistrates sit on a
'bench' of three (an
with two other
magistrates) and are
accompanied in court
by a trained legal
advisor to give guidance
on the law and This isn’t Mrs
• There are a number of personal benefits you can
gain as a magistrate, including:
• developing personal skills, such as decision-
making, communicating and team-working,
which can benefit your career and your employer
• developing an understanding of your local
community and social issues
• gaining a working knowledge of the law
• building self-confidence
• improving leadership and mentoring skills
• There are also benefits you can bring to your
community as a magistrate:
• contributing to upholding the law and making
your community a safer place
• contributing to the reform and rehabilitation
• helping offenders to make reparation to those
affected by their offences
• So how does it look
• Now read the
Magistrates notes, can
you add any extra legs?
• Now read the Auld
Review Summary, can
you add more legs
(does it look like a