Collective Voice

We are the only independent body representing the voice of magistrates. We work with our members to ensure their views are used to influence law, policy and practice.

The MA works to influence key decision-makers in parliament and government to help guide policy and to promote the sound administration of the law. We do this by:

  • Providing parliamentary briefings to MPs and Peers on topics relevant to the magistracy and work of magistrates
  • Giving evidence to the government, Sentencing Council, select committees, inspectorates and independent inquiries  
  • Conducting our own in-house research to provide robust evidence for our policy positions
  • Giving our members a powerful voice by representing their interests at meetings and working groups with key stakeholders across the justice system

 

The MA also promotes the collective voice of the magistracy in regular news appearances:

  • Generating widespread positive media coverage about the research and policy work of the MA
  • Responding to news stories relevant to the magistracy

 

Here are some of the highlights of what the MA has achieved through its collective voice:

  • Produced a report on victim experiences in the magistrates court
  • Hosted a roundtable with key stakeholders about disproportionality in the youth justice system and produced a subsequent report
  • Worked with the Independent Advisory Panel to produce  a report on sentencing powers and practice in relation to offenders with mental health conditions, learning disabilities and other needs
  • Highlighted concerns about the introduction of the Criminal Courts Charge, that resulted in the policy being suspended
  • Achieved a government review of out-of-court disposals and a pilot of a much simplified system across several police force areas, as well as legislation controlling the use of out-of-court disposals for prolific offenders and for indictable offences
  • Developed and delivered strategic recommendations to the President of the Family Division resulting in magistrates being included in all aspects of decision-making in the single family court
  • Secured a vital amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Act to ensure that grave crimes can be tried in the youth court
  • Consistently made the case for the extension of jurisdiction in the Magistrates’ Courts so that offences carrying a 12 month custodial sentence remain with magistrates