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Will working as a magistrate become the next CV must-have for wannabe lawyers?

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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.

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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.

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10 Comments

Tuka

They’ll no doubt list the ‘prestige’ of working as a magistrate as a perk to justify the lack of remuneration, which is not a good enough justification.

(21)(1)

Anna

Hahaha wtf no

(10)(0)

Anonymous

Anyone who becomes a magistrate to bolster their CV rather than out of some sense of duty to their local area is ipso facto unsuited to be a magistrate. Let’s be honest, who would you rather appear before when it comes to matters of justice; a sixty-something pillar of the community with a wealth of life and professional experience, or some TikTok-ing gimp who just wants a grad job and will probably sack off being a magistrate as soon as the ink is dry on their TC contract anyway.

(25)(1)

Anonn

I saw someone on Twitter boasting about becoming an Employment Tribunal judge, with a 2.ii undergraduate degree.

None of them do any of it for a sense of ‘duty’ – they like the feeling of power, to feel superior to others and of course, those all-important Twitter ‘likes’.

(20)(3)

Anonnerer

A 2.ii you say! This is bad. I mean like REALLY bad. Has anyone even TOLD the Lord Chief Justice. If not I’ll do it. Thanks for reporting this.

Is a 2.ii even a thing? #Wow.

(3)(1)

Anonn

Yep – 2.ii and he never qualified as a solicitor or barrister either with any professional practicing certificates.

Absolute joke that someone like that could end up presiding over someone’s employment tribunal.

It really will be a legal Tik-Toker next.

(10)(1)

Anonnerer

Yikes! Aaagh no, they never qualified as a solicitor or barrister! Well then surely they are an imposter and are completely unable to become an employment judge. This is big, we’ve stumbled on something huge here. THANK YOU!

Oh…no, hang on a minute – just remembered there are many paths to becoming a judge these days and there are stringent application processes and vetting procedures. Stand down, I think it’s going to be okay.

As you were.

Anonnn

Then there should be ‘many paths’ and ‘vetting procedures’ to allow anyone with a 2.ii from any university to start on a £70k+ pupillage….?

Right????

Anon

As someone who has anti-prison politics I really wonder sometimes if this career is right for me

(2)(0)

Oli

Don’t worry, there are plenty of defence counsel and solicitors bashing the mags on Twitter at the moment. You’ll find plenty of good company!

(2)(0)

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