Black, Asian and minority ethnic network

Launched in November 2020, the MA’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic network aims to:

  • Provide opportunities for Black, Asian and minority ethnic magistrates to network with their peers across England and Wales
  • Generate discourse around the issues affecting Black, Asian and minority ethnic magistrates (who are members of the MA) and advise, inform, and work with MA HQ to address these issues
  • Advise, inform, and work with MA HQ on the creation of routes to the recruitment of Black, Asian and minority ethnic magistrates.

Executive committee
Elected in December 2020, the executive comprises:

  • Jacqui MacDonald-Davis, chair
  • Dawn Gibbons, deputy chair
  • Shereen Williams, deputy chair

Achievements to date   
In its first 15 months of operation, the MA’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic network:

  • Shared their experiences of volunteering as magistrates in a blog for Volunteers’ Week in June 2021.
  • Held an inaugural conference in June 2021, which was attended by around 50 members and saw Sandra Kerr CBE, Race Director at Business in the Community, give a rising speech on leading from the front.
  • Surveyed its members the same month to better understand their experiences of and challenges faced while sitting on the bench. The findings are informing the development of the network’s 2022/23 workplan.
  • Facilitated a Q&A with the Rt Hon David Lammy MP at the MA’s National Conference in October 2021, covering topics including: his 2017 report, disproportionality in the criminal justice system, and how the magistracy could be strengthened/better resourced. 
  • Blogged about and took over the MA’s Twitter account for a week in October 2021 to celebrate Black History Month.
  • Represented the MA in the media, appearing on BBC Radio Three Counties in November 2021 and BBC 1 (Morning Live) in March 2022 to encourage others to apply to be and/or support their employees to serve as magistrates and to emphasise the importance of benches reflecting the communities they serve.
  • Hosted a seminar in December 2021, featuring Profesor Julian Roberts, Executive Director of the Sentencing Academy.
  • Produced a presentation on knife crime in March 2022 to support the MA’s Magistrates in the Community initiative.
  • Ran a workshop at Cultivating Black Women for Social Change in March 2022, encouraging aspiring Black social change-makers to join the magistracy.
  • Developed several digital resources and coordinated the development of a virtual photo gallery to reflect and celebrate the diversity of the magistracy.
  • Supported the recently-launched national recruitment campaign by inputting to the London Recruitment Advisory Committee on Justices of the Peace’s efforts to strengthen the inclusivity of its activities.

Upcoming priorities
This year the executive committee aims to:

  • Finalise a workplan for 2022/23
  • Put on several events for network members, including a survey feedback session in the spring and a conference in the summer
  • Establish a ‘buddy system’ to encourage Black, Asian and minority ethnic network members to take up other voluntary roles within the magistracy and broader judicial system
  • Explore the feasibility of establishing regional diversity and inclusion ambassador roles
  • Formally launch the virtual photo gallery.

Get in touch
To find out more about or volunteer your time to the MA’s Black, Asian and minority ethnic network, please email the executive committee.