Published Thursday, 03 September 2020
A campaign has been launched this week to recruit new magistrates in Coventry, Warwickshire and the surrounding region.
Magistrates are people from all walks of life who give their time voluntarily to make a positive difference to their communities, and more are needed.
They are an important part of the justice system in England and Wales, with over 90% of criminal matters dealt with by magistrates sitting in local courts.
They typically hear cases such as theft, assault, shoplifting, burglary or drink-driving and can give punishments such as fines or unpaid work in the community and even send criminals to prison for up to 12 months.
Becoming a magistrate allows you to give back to your community as well as challenging yourself and the ways you think, along with the opportunity to learn new skills.
If you are aged 18-65 with a commitment to ensuring justice in your local community, you could apply. You need to be able to offer 14 days or more a year, but you are legally entitled to take time off work for the role, and travel and subsistence are paid.
Councillor Abdul Salam Khan, Deputy Leader of Coventry City Council and Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities, who is also a magistrate on the Birmingham and Solihull Bench, urged people to apply.
He said: “Magistrates are so important to our legal system and it is vital that we have people from all our communities, of all ages and backgrounds, to serve on the bench.
“I know from personal experience that it can be a demanding role and it is not always easy, but it is also a very rewarding role. I would urge people to seriously think about applying and see if they are suitable – you learn and gain so much and you will also be helping your city and county at the same time.”
Lord Mayor of Coventry, Cllr Ann Lucas, added: “We are very proud of our magistrates. They take such a selfless step in deciding to serve in such a vital role.
“It is a service people feel called to so they can give something back and help others, and it is one we value very highly.”
Applications to become a magistrate in the West Midlands and Warwickshire opened this week (1 September) and close on 30 September.
Training is provided and a qualified legal adviser is always present in court to assist.
You can find out more on the Government's website or by emailing [email protected].