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Role of the magistracy inquiry launch

6 November 2015

Justice Committee launches inquiry into the role of the magistracy.

Background to the inquiry

The House of Commons Justice Committee has decided to hold an inquiry into the role of the magistracy. The Committee welcomes views on any matters to do with the current or future role of the magistracy, but particularly welcomes submissions addressing the following questions.

Terms of reference

  • What should the role of the magistracy be in the criminal justice system, especially in the wake of a falling workload? Is the right balance struck between the use of magistrates and the use of district judges? Should any changes be made to the powers and responsibilities of the magistracy?
  • How have court closures affected the work of the magistracy? How will further court closures affect this?
  • Is the current method and rate of recruitment for magistrates adequate? How could the role be made more appealing? How could diversity be improved?
  • Is the level of training and continuous development and support for magistrates adequate? How could it be improved?
  • Should magistrates' sentencing powers be altered in any way and, if so, how? How would such a change affect the efficiency of the criminal courts and the criminal justice system as a whole?
  • What will be the impact on the administration of courts and on the numbers and career structure of magistrates of current and proposed reforms to the magistracy?

Submitting written evidence

The deadline for written submissions to be made is 31 January 2016.

Written submissions should be made via the web portal

Further information

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