National Officers

The MA is a member-led organisation with a National Chair supported by two Deputy Chairs and an Honorary Treasurer. Together they provide the leadership for the organisation


john bache


National experience

John was Bench Representative to the Executive Committee of the MA Cheshire Branch from 2006 and National Council Representative for MA Cheshire Branch from 2007 before being appointed Deputy Chair in 2013. He was a member of the MA Youth Courts Committee from 2007-10 and Chair of Youth Courts Committee from 2010-13. Before becoming Deputy Chair, he was an MA Trustee from November 2009 to October 2013. He was Chair of the Cheshire Branch in 2012. He served as Deputy Chair from October 2013 until 18 November 2017, when he was elected MA Chair at the national AGM.

Magisterial experience

John has been a magistrate since 1989. He has been a member of the Youth Panel since 1992 and was Chair of the Youth Panel from 1998 to 2000. He was Deputy Bench Chair from 2006 to 2008 and Bench Chair from 2009 to 2011. He was Chair of Cheshire JIG in 2010 and 2011 and Chair of the North West Region of the National Bench Chairmen’s Forum in 2011. He has written and lectured extensively. He has given evidence at the House of Commons Justice Committee and various other parliamentary inquiries. He was a member of Lord Laming's Independent Review of Looked-After Children in the Criminal Justice System and of the Judicial Youth Justice Committee, chaired by Mr Justice William Davis.

Other experience and background

John is a Doctor and trained in Liverpool, Nottingham, Cambridge, London and Birmingham before being appointed a Consultant in Accident and Emergency in Cheshire in 1983. He held this post for 26 years and for eight years he also worked part-time as Associate Postgraduate Dean. He took early retirement when he was elected Chair of the Bench in 2009. He still maintains an active interest in medicine by sitting as a medical member in tribunals. His hobbies include history and current affairs and he relaxes by walking his two dogs.

John is married to Anne, who is also a doctor. He has four children.


Beverley Higgs JP - Deputy Chairman

Deputy Chair

National experience

Beverley has served on the Board of Trustees from January 2015 until the MA AGM on 18 November 2017 when she was elected Deputy Chair. Since 2014 Beverley has been a member of the MA Training Committee with a particular interest in appraisal and continuing professional development.

Magisterial experience

Beverley was appointed to the South Somerset & Mendip Bench in 2005. Since 2008 she has sat as an Adult Court Chair. An experienced mentor she has previously sat on local and regional training and development committees. 

Other experience and background

With a professional background in HR Beverley is an experienced not-for-profit charity manager. She managed a CAB Bureau for seven years and sat on the Trustee Board of the national membership organisation CITA. She has recently played a key role in establishing a Restorative Justice Partnership to serve Avon & Somerset. Beverley has an MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy awarded by King’s College London and has conducted advanced postgraduate research with the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth. Her interests are the roles of volunteers in the criminal justice system and the use of restorative justice by criminal justice agencies.


Alison Spurgeon-Dickson - Deputy Chairman

Deputy Chair

National experience

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. She served on the Board of Trustees from January 2016 until the MA AGM on 18 November 2017 when she was elected Deputy Chair.

Magisterial experience

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.

Other experience and background

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.


Paul Kemp, MA Honorary Treasurer

Honorary Treasurer

Paul Kemp became a magistrate on the Dorset bench in February 2018, having retired in 2014 after 34 years in industry, initially as a development chemist before concentrating on finance, IT and business change leadership. Paul has worked for a number of large multinational companies, including British Airways and Cobham plc, the multinational aerospace and defence company. 

Paul is a non-executive director and Audit Committee Chair for Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust.

Paul lives in St Leonards, near Ringwood.