Becoming a magistrate

Once you’ve read about the role of a magistrate, here you can find out how to take the next steps with your application

What training do I need to be a magistrate?
Magistrates do not need any specific legal training, nor do they sit exams. Instead, they undergo mandatory training of about three and a half days before sitting in court, and will be allocated a mentor for their first year. After a magistrate has sat for 12 months, they will be regularly appraised by specially-trained magistrates; they are also expected to keep their knowledge up-to-date and to attend on-going training sessions.

Which court will I sit in as a magistrate?
All new magistrates are either appointed to sit in the adult court or family court. Once appointed, magistrates can apply to sit in the other jurisdiction. If appointed to sit in the adult criminal court, once they have gained experience they can decide to undertake more training to sit in youth court as well.

What should I do before applying to become a magistrate?
You should:

  • Check your eligibility to apply.
  • Observe proceedings in a magistrates' court at least twice to check if the role is right for you - you'll be asked about these visits if you're interviewed. You can find your nearest court here. If you're interested in being a family court magistrate you'll need to read up on the types of cases they hear as family courts proceedings take place in private.
  • Ask your employer for a reference confirming they're on board with your intentions to volunteer as a magistrate. Here are some answers to questions they may have.

You might also like to read about why some of our members chose to become magistrates.

Is my area recruiting for magistrates?
Click here to find out if there are any vacancies for magistrates in your area.

How do I apply to become a magistrate?
First you need to complete an online application form, in which you will outline how you meet the five key attributes required of magistrates and will provide two references. If you're successful at this stage of the process, you'll be invited for an interview that will explore your motivations, your commitment and your 'good character'. If this goes well, you'll be offered the role - and expected to commit to a minimum of five years' service.

Where can I find further information?
You can check out our FAQs page and/or visit the Ministry of Justice's icanbeamagistrate website. If you can't find answers to your questions, just drop us an email and we'll try our best to assist you.