Government targets ‘younger people’ as part of new recruitment drive
Time spent dispensing justice as a magistrate could soon become the must-have CV booster for aspiring lawyers thanks to a new government-led recruitment drive which launched today.
The Ministry of Justice is seeking 4,000 new magistrates from all backgrounds to deliver “speedier justice” and help tackle the backlog of criminal cases it says is caused by the pandemic.
But the move could present a previously untapped opportunity for those seeking to secure a training contract or pupillage, with the government specifically targeting “younger people” over 18 with good communication skills, a sense of fairness and the ability to see an argument from different sides.
The work is voluntary with individuals expected to dedicate a minimum of 13 days service a year, meaning it’s possible for students to juggle life on the bench alongside their legal studies.
Candidates, who receive “robust training” and legal advice, are being sought to fill positions across all jurisdictions including criminal work, youth cases, as well as certain civil and family proceedings.
Commenting on the recruitment drive, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab, said:
“Magistrates are the unsung heroes of the justice system and we want people from every part of society represented in their ranks. If you care about your community and want to give back then I would strongly encourage you to apply to become a magistrate. There are few other opportunities that can make such a difference in people’s lives.”
While the recruitment drive is likely to attract more fresh-faced volunteers through courtroom doors, some law graduates have already jumped at the opportunity to dispense justice.
In 2019, Legal Cheek reported that Swansea grad Luke Penney, then 22, had become a magistrate after spotting a recruitment flyer in the Tesco store where he worked.