Could you be a magistrate?

The Committee that appoints Justices of the Peace in Cumbria and Lancashire is asking business people to consider becoming a magistrate.

No prior legal knowledge is required. Magistrates receive training and normally sit as a bench of three alongside a legal adviser.

They can hear criminal and family cases.

Rob Johnston, Chief Executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “We know of many business people who become magistrates as a way of putting something back into their local community.

“It’s a very worthwhile thing to do.

“The qualities needed to make a good magistrate – common sense, an ability to think logically, calmness and fairmindedness – are qualities needed to succeed in business, so in many ways it’s an obvious fit.

“If it sounds of interest, then I’d urge you to find out more.”

You can download a list of frequently asked questions and start the application process here.

In criminal cases, magistrates have powers to impose fines, community service orders and prison sentences up to six months (12 months for more than one crime). More serious offences are dealt with by the Crown Court.

In family cases, they can arrange for a child to be taken into care or put up for adoption, help separated parents make arrangements for their children, enforce child maintenance orders and make orders to prevent domestic abuse.

A magistrate will normally sit in court for at least 13 days a year.

They must be of good character and be aged between 18 and 65 when they start. They normally serve for at least five years and must retire at 70 currently – the upper age limit is under review.

It is an unpaid voluntary role although magistrates can claim allowances.

Cumbria has three magistrates’ courts in Carlisle, Workington and Barrow.

© Cumbria Chamber of Commerce