Call for more magistrates

PUBLISHED: 14:05 16 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:20 15 June 2010

PEOPLE of good character and standing in the community are being sought to become magistrates. The Central Devon Bench is looking for eight to 10 people to replace those who have reached the retirement age of 70 or who have resigned early.

PEOPLE of good character and standing in the community are being sought to become magistrates.The Central Devon Bench is looking for eight to 10 people to replace those who have reached the retirement age of 70 or who have resigned early.Appointed by the Lord Chancellor, magistrates are meant to be representatives of their community.There are six key qualities that candidates must show before their name is submitted to the Ministry of Justice for further processing.These are being a person of good character, have understanding and communication skills and a good level of social awareness.Other characteristics include maturity and sound temperament, sound judgment and commitment and reliability.There is quite a long process involved in becoming a magistrate, it takes about a year from an application being received to successful candidates being sworn in.Interested candidates are asked to apply by the middle of November, with applications studied in December, when invitations for interview are sent out, which would take place from late January to mid March.Four days of induction training take place in September and October and new magistrates are sworn in, in November.Anyone between the age of 18 and 70 can sit as a magistrate but with a requirement for a minimum of five years' service and the application process taking more than a year, it would be unlikely that candidates over the age of 63 would be taken on.A spokesman for the Magistrate's Association said: "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."Once sitting on the Central Devon Bench, magistrates would consider a range of offences and could impose sentences of community penalties, compensation and fines. More details about applying for the posts are available from www.magistrates-association.org.uk or by calling Sally Veasey on (01392) 415563 for a preliminary chat.


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