Magistrates and employment

Find out about how being a magistrate can benefit you as an employee

Will I get time off work to sit as a magistrate?

Magistrates are required to sit a minimum of 26 half days (13 full days) a year. Employers are obliged by law to allow time off work for magistrates to perform their duties (see below), but it is at their discretion whether this is paid or unpaid leave. Many supportive employers allow magistrates leave for their public duties in addition to their normal holiday entitlement.

There are many benefits to employers supporting their staff to be magistrates. In doing so they both give back to the community in a valuable way and invest in staff development. Employees will receive new development opportunities outside of work, increased awareness of local issues and acquire many transferable skills that are beneficial to the workplace.

If your employer wants to learn more about employing a magistrate and the benefits of doing so, they can find out more here.

What transferable skills will a magistrate bring to an organisation?

During their service and training, magistrates develop transferable skills in many areas essential to both personal and professional development, including but not limited to:

  • Critical analysis
  • Decision-making
  • Giving and receiving constructive feedback
  • Conflict resolution
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Time management


Some of the skills you acquire as a magistrate will depend on whether you sit in the criminal, youth or family court, for example you will be trained to communicate with young people if you are a youth magistrate. You may gain additional skills if you choose to receive special training to take on another role eg as a presiding justice or a mentor.

Will I get compensated for time off work to sit as a magistrate?

Being a magistrate is a voluntary role, but you can claim expenses.

What does the law say?

Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 states that ‘An employer shall permit an employee of his who is a justice of the peace to take time off during the employee’s working hours for the purpose of performing any of the duties of the office’.

The amount of time an employee is permitted to take and the circumstances in which this time is taken must be considered by the employer to be reasonable with regard to

  • How much time off is required for the performance of the duties of the office
  • The circumstances of the employer’s business and the effect of the employee’s absence on the running of that business


How do I apply to become a magistrate?

Find out more about the role here and how to apply here.

What do magistrates say about volunteering while working?

As part of Volunteers' Week 2021, we spoke to two magistrates, Dan and Katherine, about balancing volunteering as a magistrate with a career. Find out what they had to say here.