The government has announced that the retirement age for magistrates will be raised to 75. This has been a key priority for the Magistrates’ Association (MA) and we have been working hard influencing the senior judiciary, civil servants, ministers and members of parliament to make this happen.
While this change will not happen immediately—the law needs to be changed first—we welcome this decision, following more than two years of hard work by the MA.
The MA’s response to the government’s consultation last year showed this change has the support of a significant majority of our members, with 82 per cent thinking that the retirement age for magistrates should be increased and 71 per cent thinking it should be raised to 75.
Bev Higgs JP, MA National Chair, said:
“The Magistrates’ Association welcomes this change, which will allow magistrates to continue to serve their communities beyond their seventieth birthday. This not only reflects the broader societal shifts which have seen people retire from work later and continue to be active citizens for longer, but will also ensure that there are enough experienced magistrates to keep the courts running.
We have long campaigned for the retirement age to be increased and, at a crucial time for the justice system with the Covid-19 pandemic putting pressure on the courts and the broader justice system, it will mean that there are more magistrates available to take on the current workload.
In addition to raising the retirement age, there must also be a properly-resourced recruitment drive to increase the number of magistrates, increase the diversity of the magistracy, and make sure that the magistracy can play a full role in the justice system now and in the future.”