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MA launches LGBT+ Special Interest Group

Dedicated group launched


22 February 2021
MA launches LGBT+ Special Interest Group

With the arrival of February, countries around the world mark LGBT History Month, an annual celebration that provides opportunities for education and insight into the issues that LGBT+ communities face across the globe.

Magistrates make up 85% of the judiciary. They sit in criminal, family and youth courts and no prior legal knowledge is needed for the role as training is provided.

The Magistrates Association, the independent charity and membership body representing the views of magistrates, has recently established a dedicated group to support its LGBT+ members.

‘Along with the Young Magistrates, Magistrates with Disabilities and BAME groups, the LGBT+ group was formed to provide opportunities for magistrates from traditionally underrepresented parts of society to network and discuss the issues that may affect them or other court users in the day-to-day business of the court’, says chair of the LGBT+ group, Tom Quarton-Manuel. ‘We also want to demonstrate that sexuality or gender identity is no barrier to becoming a magistrate and that the justice system works best when mixed and diverse voices are represented in the decision-making process.

‘Despite the many advances over the years in respect of LGBT+ rights and the law, there is a clear need for those who identify as LGBT+ to feel able to become magistrates and contribute to the administration of justice in their local communities. We would encourage anyone who has an interest in becoming a magistrate to apply. We welcome diversity and encourage applications from all parts of the community.’

Chair of the MA Beverley Higgs said: ‘The MA is committed to recognising and bringing together magistrates who are also members of groups we believe to be underrepresented within the magistracy. We are currently planning an exciting programme of work with the aim of ensuring that LGBT+ magistrates are fairly represented both in the MA and across the magistracy.’

If you are interested in becoming a magistrate, you can find out more information on the Magistrates Association website at www.magistrates-association.org.uk. To find out if recruitment is currently open in your local area, visit https://magistrates.judiciary.uk.

Image credit: Daniel James via Unsplash

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