National Officers

The MA is a member-led organisation with a National Chairman supported by two Deputy Chairmen and an Honorary Treasurer. Together they provide the leadership for the organisation

john bache

JOHN BACHE JP FRCS
Chairman

National experience

John was Bench Representative to the Executive Committee of the MA Cheshire Branch from 2006 and National Council Representative for MA Cheshire Branch from 2007 before being appointed Deputy Chairman in 2013. He was a member of the MA Youth Courts Committee from 2007-10 and Chairman of Youth Courts Committee from 2010-13. Before becoming Deputy Chairman, he was an MA Trustee from November 2009 to October 2013. He was Chairman of the Cheshire Branch in 2012. He served as Deputy Chairman from October 2013 until 18 November 2017, when he was elected MA Chairman at the national AGM.

Magisterial experience

John has been a magistrate since 1989. He has been a member of the Youth Panel since 1992 and was Chairman of the Youth Panel from 1998 to 2000. He was Deputy Bench Chairman from 2006 to 2008 and Bench Chairman from 2009 to 2011. He was Chairman of Cheshire JIG in 2010 and 2011 and Chairman of the North West Region of the National Bench Chairmen’s Forum in 2011. He has written and lectured extensively. He has given evidence at the House of Commons Justice Committee and various other parliamentary inquiries. He was a member of Lord Laming's Independent Review of Looked-After Children in the Criminal Justice System and of the Judicial Youth Justice Committee, chaired by Mr Justice William Davis.

Other experience and background

John is a Doctor and trained in Liverpool, Nottingham, Cambridge, London and Birmingham before being appointed a Consultant in Accident and Emergency in Cheshire in 1983. He held this post for 26 years and for eight years he also worked part-time as Associate Postgraduate Dean. He took early retirement when he was elected Chairman of the Bench in 2009. He still maintains an active interest in medicine by sitting as a medical member in tribunals. His hobbies include history and current affairs and he relaxes by walking his two dogs.

John is married to Anne, who is also a doctor. He has four children.

 

Beverley Higgs JP - Deputy Chairman

BEVERLEY HIGGS JP
Deputy Chairman

National experience

Beverley has served on the Board of Trustees from January 2015 until the MA AGM on 18 November 2017 when she was elected Deputy Chairman. Since 2014 Beverley has been a member of the MA Training Committee with a particular interest in appraisal and continuing professional development.

Magisterial experience

Beverley was appointed to the South Somerset & Mendip Bench in 2005. Since 2008 she has sat as an Adult Court Chair. An experienced mentor she has previously sat on local and regional training and development committees. 

Other experience and background

With a professional background in HR Beverley is an experienced not-for-profit charity manager. She managed a CAB Bureau for seven years and sat on the Trustee Board of the national membership organisation CITA. She has recently played a key role in establishing a Restorative Justice Partnership to serve Avon & Somerset. Beverley has an MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy awarded by King’s College London and has conducted advanced postgraduate research with the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth. Her interests are the roles of volunteers in the criminal justice system and the use of restorative justice by criminal justice agencies.

Alison Spurgeon-Dickson - Deputy Chairman

ALISON SPURGEON-DICKSON JP
Deputy Chairman

National experience

Alison has been a member of the MA since her appointment in 2005. In 2012 she presented research to the MA. She was appointed to the MA Training Committee in 2013. She served on the Board of Trustees from January 2016 until the MA AGM on 18 November 2017 when she was elected Deputy Chairman.

Magisterial experience

Alison was appointed as a magistrate in 2005. She joined Magistrates in the Community (MIC) in 2008. In 2010 she qualified as a bench chairman. Between 2010-2014 she was a member of the Cumbria combined family panel. From 2013-2015 she undertook the role of Deputy Chairman of Furness and District bench. Since 2015 she has served as Deputy Chairman of the South Cumbria bench.

Other experience and background

Through her work as a senior lecturer at the University of Cumbria, as a chartered psychologist, as a prison researcher, employment in HM prison service and voluntary work in prisons and young offender institutes Alison has gained a good level of understanding of what sentences are designed to achieve, and their relative effectiveness in preventing re-offending. Her current lecturing in forensic psychology focuses upon community and custodial sentences, risk assessment and risk management, and the efficacy of offending behaviour programmes, which gives her a clear, critical, and detailed understanding of offender populations, such as mentally disordered offenders, female offenders and violent offenders. Her role as a magistrate together with her professional role give her insight and understanding of policy and practice related to the working of courts and decision-making processes.

Alison hopes to contribute her knowledge and experience to significant matters of the Board, such as expansion of the MA's operations into new activities, particularly in light of the current review of the role of the magistracy.

She is married with two adult children – enjoys music, architecture, and living in the Lake District.

 

Shyam Sharma - Honorary Treasurer

SHYAM SHARMA JP
Honorary Treasurer

National / magisterial  experience

Shyam was appointed in 1990 to the Southampton Bench and became a chairman of the adult and youth courts in 1993. He was a member of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court Committee from 1995 until 31 March 2005. Shyam was appointed a Court Board Member of HM Court Service in October 2004 and served in this role until 2009.

Other experience and background

Shyam is a practising chartered accountant, having been admitted as an associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 1976 and made a fellow in January 1982. He commenced his own practice, as a sole practitioner in January 1984 and during the first three years was mainly involved in providing consultancy services in mergers and acquisitions, USM listings etc.

Concurrently, he acted for a large group of companies (plc), as company secretary and overseeing the computerisation of their accounting system, along with work for the designing and commissioning of the Internal Control Manual of the Southampton Community NHS Trust.

Shyam has served in a variety of other roles including: Non-executive Director and then Chairman of Southampton Community NHS Trust; Treasurer of Southampton Test Conservative Association; Director of Art Asia Trust Limited; and General Commissioner of Income Tax for the Southampton Division.

He received the Community Entrepreneur Award at the 2000 Common Purpose programme, subsequently being invited to join the Southampton Common Purpose programme Advisory Committee and has been granted lifetime membership of the Millennium Awards Fellowship.

Shyam was a Director of Wheatsheaf Trust Limited from 2003 to 2006, a charity whose objects are the relief of unemployment for the public benefit by means of a range of interventions to promote social inclusion, economic development and lifelong learning for the communities in Southampton city and region. Since then, he has taken on the role of a Director and Trustee of the Sailors' Society, a charity whose objects are to enhance and enrich Seafarers' lives throughout the world.

Shyam is married and has three daughters.