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Becoming a magistrate

Ready to take the next step and become a magistrate? Find out about the application process.

Photo: © Philip Wolmuth

Before you apply

Before you apply to be a magistrate, there are a few things you should do:

  • Check your eligibility—you don’t need specific qualifications to apply, but some occupations make you ineligible to sit as a magistrate.
  • Observe proceedings in a magistrates’ court at least twice to check if the role is right for you—you’ll be asked about these visits if you’re interviewed. You can find your nearest court on the GOV.UK website. If you’re interested in being a family court magistrate you’ll need to read up on the types of cases they hear as family courts proceedings take place in private.
  • Ask your employer for a reference and confirm they’re happy for you to volunteer as a magistrate.

Read about why some of our members chose to become magistrates.

Applying to be a magistrate

Once you’re ready to apply, you’ll need to complete an online application form. The application includes outlining how you meet the five key attributes required of magistrates and providing two references.

If you’re successful at this stage of the process, you’ll be invited for an interview that will explore your motivations, your commitment and your good character.

The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary provides detailed information to support you through the application process.

What happens next

If your interview goes well, you’ll be offered the role. The application process can take up to 12 months from the time you apply.

Once you’re a magistrate, you are expected to commit to a minimum of 13 days (26 half days) a year for a minimum of five years’ service.

Learn more about being a magistrate

Training of magistrates

All magistrates complete compulsory training and continue developing throughout their magisterial career.

Employing a magistrate

How employers can support their staff to be magistrates.
The front entrance of Westminster Magistrates' Court


Magistrates work in the criminal court for adults and young people and in the family court.