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MA Chair John Bache on need for a diverse magistracy

MA in the media

31 January 2020
MA Chair John Bache on need for a diverse magistracy

National Chair of the MA John Bache has had a letter published in response to a Guardian article that reported that the police have failed to boost diversity within their ranks, with just 7% of officers identifying as ethnic minorities compared with 14% of the population. He emphasies the importance of diversity across the justice system, particularly in the magistracy where the bench must reflect the community it serves:

"The police service is not the only justice institution currently facing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve diversity. There is currently a significant shortage of magistrates, with the number having halved in the last decade. Moreover, more than half of current magistrates are aged over 60, meaning they will have to retire in the next decade unless new legislation is introduced to increase the mandatory age of retirement. As a result, thousands more will need to be recruited in the next few years to ensure the magistracy can continue to play its key role in the justice system.

"As with the police, it is essential that magistrates genuinely reflect the communities they serve, and we must take this opportunity to increase diversity, ensuring we recruit more magistrates from ethnic minorities, more young magistrates, and more magistrates from diverse social backgrounds."




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