Board Of Trustees

The Board of Trustees are responsible for the governance of the Magistrates’ Association. They set the strategic plan and budget and are legally accountable for the MA’s activities. The members of the Board of Trustees are sourced from and elected by the membership.

Beverley Higgs, Somerset - Chair
Mark Beattie, Central & North London - Deputy Chair
Alison Spurgeon-Dickson, Cumbria North - Deputy Chair
Shyam Sharma - Interim Treasurer 
Sarah Clarke, Buckinghamshire
David Ford, Mid and South Glamorgan
Doreen Huijssoon-Prescott, Birmingham 
Daniel Longman, Merseyside
Jacqui MacDonald-Davis, Central and North London
Patricia Willmott, Northamptonshire 


Bev Higgs - MA Chair

Beverley Higgs JP, Somerset - Chair

Beverley was appointed to the South Somerset & Mendip Bench in 2005. Since 2008 she has sat as an Adult Court Chair. She is currently a co-opted member of the Somerset MA Branch, a member of the Training and Development Committee and has mentored new magistrates. Since 2014 Beverley has been a member of the MA Training Committee with a particular interest in appraisal and continuing professional development. She served on the Board of Trustees from January 2015 until the MA AGM on 18 November 2017 when she was elected Deputy Chair. She was elected MA National Chair at the AGM on 17 October 2020.

With a professional background in HR Beverley is an experienced not-for-profit charity manager. She managed a CAB Bureau for seven years and also sat on the National Trustee Board of CITA the membership association. She has recently played a key role in establishing a Restorative Justice Partnership to serve Somerset. Beverley is in the process of doctoral research with Portsmouth University, her interests are the roles of volunteers in the criminal justice system and the use of restorative justice by criminal justice agencies.

Beverley has three adult children, a granddaughter and absolutely no interest in sport whatever – well – maybe Formula 1 if pushed!


Mark Beattie - Trustee

Mark Beattie JP FBCS, Central and North London - Deputy Chair

Mark was appointed to the Camden and Islington Bench, based at Highbury Corner, in 2006. Shortly after the creation of the North London Bench, Mark became Chair of the Training and Development Committee for four years and went on to Chair the London Magistrates' Area Training Committee for two years. He was elected as Bench Chair for North London in 2015 and completed his term in April 2018. He sits as a Court Chair in both Adult and Youth jurisdictions and was elected Deputy Chair at the MA AGM on 17 October 2020.

Mark has previously served as Chair of the Central and North London Branch of the MA, an MA regional representative for London and is the past chair of the MA Training Committee. He joined the Board of Trustees in May 2017, to fill a casual vacancy, before being elected to the position in November 2017. He has taken the lead on the new appraisal scheme for magistrates on behalf of the MA.

Mark's day job is as Head of Central Services for LondonEnergy Ltd, a renewable energy and recycling company based in North London.

Mark has been a Trustee of the Student's Union at the University of Southampton. He serves on the Registration and Standard Committee of the British Computer Society (BCS). In 2016 the BCS awarded Mark with its 'Meritorious Service Award', in recognition of his service 'across several areas of the Institute's activities'.


Alison Spurgeon-Dickson - Cumbria South

Dr Alison Spurgeon-Dickson JP, Cumbria North - Deputy Chair

Alison was appointed as a magistrate in 2005. She joined Magistrates in the Community (MIC) in 2008. In 2010 she qualified as a Bench Chair. Between 2010-2014 she was a member of the Cumbria combined family panel. From 2013-2015 she undertook the role of Deputy Chair of Furness and District bench. Since 2015 she has served as Deputy Chair of the South Cumbria bench. She served on the Board of Trustees from January 2016 until the MA AGM on 18 November 2017 when she was elected Deputy Chair.

Alison has been a member of the MA since her appointment in 2005. In 2012 she presented research to the MA. She was appointed to the MA Training Committee in 2013.

Through her work as a senior lecturer at the University of Cumbria, as a chartered psychologist, as a prison researcher, employment in HM prison service and voluntary work in prisons and young offender institutes Alison has gained a good level of understanding of what sentences are designed to achieve, and their relative effectiveness in preventing re-offending. Her current lecturing in forensic psychology focuses upon community and custodial sentences, risk assessment and risk management, and the efficacy of offending behaviour programmes, which gives her a clear, critical, and detailed understanding of offender populations, such as mentally disordered offenders, female offenders and violent offenders. Her role as a magistrate together with her professional role give her insight and understanding of policy and practice related to the working of courts and decision-making processes. 

Alison hopes to contribute her knowledge and experience to significant matters of the Board, such as expansion of the MA’s operations into new activities, particularly in light of the current review of the role of the magistracy.

She is married with two adult children – enjoys music, architecture, and living in the Lake District.


Sarah Clarke - MA Trustee

Sarah Clarke BA (Hons) LLB JP, Buckinghamshire

Sarah joined the magistracy in 2004 and was appointed to the Milton Keynes' Bench, which subsequently became part of the amalgamated Buckinghamshire Bench. During her time as a magistrate she has been a Bench Chairman, Deputy Bench Chairman, Deputy Chairman of the youth panel, an adult court Presiding Justice, a youth Presiding Justice, a mentor and an appraiser. She was a member of the specialist domestic violence panel and the magistrate representative involved in the formation of the Thames Valley Out of Court Disposal Scrutiny Panel. Sarah was the Chairman of the Buckinghamshire Branch of the Magistrates' Association from 2012-6, a member of the MA's Judicial and Court Management Committee and is currently a Deputy Chair of the Adult Courts Committee.

Sarah was the county coordinator for the national Schools' Mock Trial Competition and has been involved working with schools across Buckinghamshire to promote the competition since 2010.

When not involved in all things magisterial, Sarah trained as a counsellor and worked in an adolescent psychiatric unit before working for many years as a freelance researcher specialising in customer experience and qualitative research in both the commercial and public sector. She is a Director at Develin Consulting Ltd, a management consultancy specialising in data analytics and change management within the commercial and charitable sectors and, Business Improvement Specialists working with data to improve business growth and efficiency.

Sarah is married and has one son who is currently in his final year at university.


David Ford

David Ford JP, Mid and South Glamorgan

David was appointed as a magistrate in 1994 and has been a member of the MA from that time. He has been a member of the youth panel since 1999 and sits as a presiding justice in both adult and youth courts. He has also been a member of the DRR panel.

He was elected youth panel chair of the Cardiff Bench 2009-10. During the same period, he joined the Youth Court Committee and the Youth Justice Committee (a Joint Welsh Assembly/YJB initiative to provide strategic leadership specifically to reduce the number of young people within the youth justice system).

David initially trained as a hotelier and became a Fellow of the HCIMA (Hotel and Catering Institutional Management Association). David spent 20 years in senior management positions within the hospitality industry which took him from hotels, to industrial catering and eventually to Intercity catering and logistics. In 1999 he took the decision to work for himself and set up his first business in the recruitment industry. In the last 10 years he has developed business interests in the property and finance industries. David is particularly supportive of magistrates who juggle their professional occupations and employment with their commitments to the bench.

David re-joined the Youth Court Committee in 2016 and was co-opted to the board in May 2018 as a Welsh representative. David has since joined a number of different Welsh-focused committees to promote and represent the views of the Magistrates Association and its members on behalf of both the Youth Courts Committee and the Board of Trustees.

David is married, lives in Cardiff and has two children.


Doreen Huijssoon-Prescott JP, Birmingham

Doreen was appointed to the Halifax Bench in 2006. The transfer to the Birmingham and Solihull Bench coincided with an MA Missional Leadership. Doreen has undertaken the training to become a Presiding Justice and participates in the Magistrates in the Community initiative.

Doreen’s professional experience includes the role of a Consultant Assessor at Cambridge Assessment. Doreen is also a qualified Lecturer who has been employed in the Further Education sector.

Doreen’s international humanitarian experience includes the co-pioneering of a Vocational Training School for AIDs orphans in Uganda. Doreen’s multi-lingual, cross-cultural skills have been invested in a range of humanitarian projects in Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia. Doreen is an advocate for the alleviation of Violence Against Women through academic research, health education and social policy reform.

Doreen seeks to invest her academic and professional skills to influence the policy agenda and support magistrates' structured decision-making. Doreen seeks to strengthen the MA’s representation amongst the groups of people who are under-represented to promote the delivery of local equitable justice for all.

Doreen enjoys cooking, cycling and relaxing with her friends at her local Spa and Health Club.


Daniel Longman JP, Merseyside

Dan Longman was appointed as a magistrate in 2015 and has since gained experienced in the Adult Court, Family Court, Crown Court Appeals and the Out of Hours Warrants Panel. He has a strong interest in local history and has published numerous books delving into Merseyside’s past. His day job is within the planning department of a local authority, specialising in matters affecting conservation areas and listed buildings. He has a BA Hons in English, an MA in Building Conservation, an MA in Town and Regional Planning and a Graduate Diploma in Law.



Jacqui MacDonald-Davis JP, Central and North London

Jacqui was appointed in 2005. As well as sitting on the MA Board, she is Deputy Bench Chair of the Central London Magistrates' Court and Deputy Chair on the MA Training Committee. She also served for eight years on the Central London Advisory Committee and for two years on the Bench Training and Development Committee.

Jacqui is a qualified teacher and a trained Careers Education and Guidance specialist and has worked in higher education as a lecturer, a consultant and as Head of Staff and Organisational Development. She now works for Health Education England in the Professional Support Unit as an Education Lead, supporting trainee medical clinicians. She is passionate about supporting individuals to engage with their potential and to take the next step in their personal and professional development. She also works on a voluntary basis for the Prince's Trust and is a trained mentor, coach, mediator, Myers Briggs assessor and the author of several articles and publications.

When not working, Jacqui enjoys the theatre, travel and discovering new restaurants.


Patricia Willmott JP, Northamptonshire

Patricia was appointed as a magistrate in 1991.

Patricia was employed full time at her Local Authority as a Health Safety and Wellbeing professional giving advice and guidance to a wide and varied range of services which included schools, adult social care, fire service, archaeology and library services. She also served as a school governor. During this time she also took a primary caring role in looking after elderly relatives.

Patricia’s work and family life  balance has changed, and she has now taken the opportunity to become more active within the magistracy; as well as joining the Board of Trustees she has applied to the Youth Bench and the Magistrates in the Community initiative.