As we enter 2023, we thought we would take a moment to reflect on some of our highlights from the year that has just passed. From securing several advocacy wins to launching a new learning hub for members, we supported our members to be the best magistrates they can be and strengthened our membership offer even further.
Here are some of our most read articles and blogs, which shine a light on several of 2022’s highlights:
- Campaign to recruit 4,000 new magistrates launches: in January, the government launched a recruitment campaign to hire 4,000 new magistrates. We welcomed this as a highly positive step towards increasing the diversity of the bench and reducing the backlog of criminal cases that accrued during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Expressions of interest for returning retired magistrates due soon: in the same month, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) confirmed that those keen to return to the bench following the increase in the mandatory retirement age (MRA) would soon be able to do so. The raising of the MRA is something for which we advocated for several years, so this was a key milestone.
- Commencement of increased sentencing powers covered widely by the media: in May, the extension to magistrates’ sentencing powers came into force to help speed up justice for complainants and defendants. This is something for which we had advocated for more than a decade, so we were pleased that our views on this historic reform were featured by a wealth of print and online publications. Media coverage is key to raising awareness of the important work of our members and of the magistracy more broadly.
- Magistrates’ Association publishes position on victim surcharge increase: a month later, we cautioned of the disproportionate impact that two recent Ministry of Justice (MOJ) changes to the victim surcharge were likely to have on those with low incomes or in receipt of Universal Credit. We’re speaking to the Sentencing Council about this next month, and have input to their related consultation on totality in January.
- ‘Computer says no’ approach to expenses won’t do: in July, we stood up for our members by expressing strong disappointment with two Magistrates’ Leadership Executive announcements regarding magistrates’ expenses. Later in the year, we published a landmark report on the costs of volunteering as a magistrate. As well as building momentum around its 20 recommendations via successful media outreach, we also met with senior officials from the MOJ and HMCTS to discuss next steps.
- Five highlights from our flagship annual event: in October, more than 250 members came together online for our annual general meeting, conference and awards ceremony. Weren’t able to join us? Here’s a round-up of what you missed.