To become a magistrate there are no special quakifications needed. The first requirement is to have the correct personalities. These are:
- To be of good character; this includes having personal integrity and keeping confidences and respect of others.
- To have understanding and communication; this is needed as magistrates are expected to be able to understand documents and identify facts, follow evidence and concentrate. They are also expected to have communication skills both inside and outside court.
- To have social awareness; appreciatin and acceptance of the rule of law, respect for different ethnics and cultures and understanding in local area.
- To be mature and of sound temperament; includes awareness and understanding of the people around them, a sense of fairness and humanity.
- Being of sound judgement; ability to think logicall, weigh arguements and come to a decision, open minded.
- Commitment and reliability; being committed to community and time commitment, willing to undergo training.
The second requirement is to take the Oath of Allegiance. British nationality is not required although those seeking asylum are not allowed. Certain professions are ineligible because od concern of magistrates being impartial. These proffesions can be police and army. Have to disclose if they are freemason.
The third requirement relates to criminal convictions and civil claims. Applicants must disclose any convictions, however minor, including motoring offences and even police cautions. Disclosure also recored for other criminal or civil orders such as divorce.
There is no formal age requirement except applicant must be a minimum of 18 years old and retire at the age of 70.
Selection of a new magistrate:
When a new magistrate is required and advertisement is placed in the area where the magistrate is required. There are often public awareness days so potential magistrates can learn about what is involved. Aperson can apply at work or at home by downloading the application form and filling it inwhich are available from Ministry of Justice. A DVD is also included with the application pack.
Once the form is submitted, it is checked to make sure the applicant is eligible. If the applicant is eligible then they will be invited to a first interview by the Advisory Committee.
If successful then…