There are, however, six key qualities which are regarded as vital if you are to perform
successfully in the role of a magistrate. It doesn’t matter how or where you developed
these qualities. It could be through your current or previous employment, involvement
in community or voluntary activities, public appointments, leisure activities, family life
or academic study. The most important thing is that you can demonstrate these in the
selection process and, if appointed, apply them to the role. They are:
° Understanding and communication: to be able to understand documents, relevant facts, follow evidence and communicate effectively.
° Social awareness: to appreciate and accept the rule of law.
° Maturity and sound temperament: to have an awareness and understanding of people and a sense of fairness.
° Sound judgement: to be able to think logically, weigh arguments and reach a sound decision.
° Commitment and reliability: to be committed to serving the community, willing to undergo training and to be in sufficiently good health to undertake your duties on a regular basis.
You have to be over 18 and under 65.
Magistrates must retire at 70 and are normally expected to serve for at least 5 years.
HealthYou need to be able to hear clearly, with or without a hearing aid, to listen to a case.
You also need to be able to sit and concentrate for long periods of time.
You need to show you’ve got the right personal qualities, eg that you are:
- aware of social issues
- mature, understand people and have a sense of fairness
- reliable and committed to serving the community
- understand documents, follow evidence and communicate effectively
- think logically, weigh up arguments and reach a fair decision
Good characterIt’s unlikely you’ll be taken on if you have been:
- found guilty of a serious crime
- found guilty of a number of minor offences
- banned from driving in the past 5 to 10 years
- declared bankrupt
Conflicts of interestYou can’t be a magistrate if you work in one of a small number of jobs where there could be a conflict of interest - eg if you are a police officer.
Time off for magistrate duties
You will need to be in court for at least 13 days, or 26 half-days, a year.
Discuss with your employer how you will balance your work and magistrate duties.