Chance to be part of justice

Drop Folder News / ATEX News.18/10/10. Pic Kevin Allen.'Scarborough Magistrates Court.'104208b
Drop Folder News / ATEX News.18/10/10. Pic Kevin Allen.'Scarborough Magistrates Court.'104208b

IF YOU’VE ever considered becoming a magistrate, now could be the time to apply.

An appeal has been launched to encourage people in the Scarborough area to volunteer for the role.

Anyone aged between 18 and 65 can become a magistrate and while everybody is encouraged to apply, applications are particularly welcome from women.

A spokesperson for the court service said: “On a typical day, magistrates might sentence a self-confessed alcoholic for driving while unfit, review a case of a person up on theft and assault charges, or deal with anti-social behaviour.”

Magistrates’ courts deal with 96 per cent of all criminal cases in the UK. Magistrates are required to serve at least 26 half days a year unpaid, although working people can claim an allowance for loss of earnings.

Many employers allow time off to magistrates to fulfil their duties, and mileage expenses can also be claimed.

They are expected to complete at least five years service before having to retire at 70.

The spokesperson added: “Magistrates must demonstrate six key qualities - good character; understanding and communication; social awareness; maturity and sound temperament, sound judgement and commitment and reliability.

“Candidates can choose to serve at a court near their home or work address, preferably within an hour’s drive and should live in North Yorkshire or close to the boundary.”

Full training will be provided. Anyone interested in becoming a magistrate in the Scarborough area can visit direct.gov.uk or call Gillian Moorhouse, at Harrogate Magistrates’ Court, on 01423 722008.

The deadline to apply is May 13.