Subscribe to Transform Justice blog posts below:

Subject:


August 31, 2014

Magistrate numbers: terminal decline?

Magistrate numbers are at their lowest level since I’m not sure when.  Judiciary figures for 2013/14 show  21,626 magistrates sitting -definitely the lowest figure since for the last ten years, possibly in the last 20.  The numbers have dropped 1775 in a year and 8215 since 2007.  This is a continuation of a trend, but no less alarming for that.  The problem is that, with the drop in numbers, comes a decline in diversity (in its broadest sense).  Magistrates in 2014 were even older than previously, with 57% over 60 and 85% over 50. Some areas (eg Coventry and Warwickshire and Dorset) have no magistrates  under 40. And ethnic representation is still way behind the population, with 8.7 % from ethnic minorities, in comparison to 14.1% in the population.  Transform Justice’s report “Magistrates: representatives of the people?” analysed these long term trends and suggested that increased diversity would be very difficult to achieve without either increasing numbers or introducing positive discrimination into recruitment.

Sign up to hear more