Do you want to become a Magistrate?


Following the unprecedented success of the Operation Black Vote & Ministry of Justice Magistrates’ Shadowing Scheme, a series of free one day seminars entitled, ‘A Judiciary for All’ are being organised in regions across the country.

The aim of the seminars is to help improve Black and other minority ethnic (BME) representation within the magistracy and increase awareness within BME communities about the work of the courts.

The free seminars will provide individuals considering applying to the magistracy with the knowledge and understanding of the role of Magistrates and the work of the Criminal Justice System. Led by experienced Magistrates and court officials, the seminars will outline the roles and responsibilities of a Magistrate. Individuals will have an opportunity to deliberate sample cases, discuss the application process and court tours will be available in some areas.

Operation Black Vote is providing this unique learning opportunity to anyone who has a desire to become a Magistrate to play a full and positive role within our public institutions.

The seminars will run in May and June 2011 in the following areas: North-East London, North-West London, South-East London and Medway in Kent.

The following dates have been confirmed:

  • South-East London - Saturday 16th July 2011
  • North-East London - Saturday 23rd July 2011

Further areas and dates will be confirmed shortly.

To register to attend please download this booking form, complete it and email it to contact Merlene Carrington via quoting ‘Regional Seminars’ in the subject field.

Main picture: Scheme launch - Magistrates Richard Hay and Fozia Sadiq. Richard is a mentor for the OBV Magistrates Shadowing Scheme and Fozia was appointed as a magistrate after taking part in the programme.

Archived Comments

We've changed to a new commenting system - comments below are preserved for archive purposes


I was shortlisted for the Magistrates programme in 2003 but had to travel abroad for work in 2004. I was told to contact you when I return. I will be available over the summer and would like to reactivate my application. Thanks H O Dawodu

Info on Magistrate seminars

Hi Mr Dawodu,

Many thanks for your comment, I've emailed you directly with information relating to the above.

Becoming a magistrate and encouraging more young people

Please send me details on how to proceed as i sent an email and it bounced back. Regards

Becoming a Magistrate

I have been a magistrate now for a number of years. I am by no means a typical magistrate but have not regretted the decision to become one for an instant. My bench is probably a lot more diverse than many if not most around the country. We have some wonderful people sitting there. However I do think it is important to be realistic. Many of the roles involved in decision-making at a bench, branch or regional level including the; training, deputy chairs and chairs still are disproportionately not BME. They tend to be middle class, at an age where it is possible or comfortable enough to afford to be able to sit frequently.
I do not detract from their good fortune but merely remark that sadly they are not as reflective of the community that comes before them. This does not detract from the commitment or their ability - it is just a sad reflection of our inability to target young BME people and suggest becoming a magistrate is a viable and important option. Despite the success of some campaigns it is sad how few young BME men still consider this an option. I know that firms would appreciate the skills and experience gained from employees who are released to sit. I think it is time to not just engage individuals but to target the firms, companies and industries they are likely to be employed in. Make it both the individual’s choice but also the organisation's commitment. The Metropolitan Police Service has used this approach to generate increased numbers of specials. Whatever the political perspective is on specials perhaps it is important to focus on method used rather than the objective in this instance.
The only other issue that I would raise is a real need for honesty at this particular time. People considering making the commitment to become magistrates need to understand what is actually happening at this time. The unprecedented number of Court Closures, Bench amalgamations and consultations on reducing expenses and allowances for magistrates that are currently taking place will change the future of magistrating forever. It will also disproportionately affect the very people Operation Black Vote is trying to attract into the magistracy.

OBV Free Seminars on becoming a magistrate

Hi there

I am interested in attending on Saturday 14th May 2011.

Can you please send me the relevant information.

I look forward to hearing from you.

With kind regards

Jenny Jean-Jacques

Download direct from OBV!

Hi Jenny,

All current info is contained in the item above, at the bottom of the piece there is a link to download the booking form. Complete and send it back to us to confirm your place (email address is mag @

Many thanks


Dates for SE London

I am interested, but would like the confirmation of dates for SE London?

Date confirmation to follow

Hi Andrea,

We'll be confirming dates to those who've completed the booking form and sent it in. All seminars will be held over the coming months and on a Saturday.

All the best,


North-west- Manchester

Hi Leon, I live in Manchester and I'm quite interested in becoming a magistrate. Please can you advise on dates this event will be held in Manchester? Thanks

Magistrate seminars

Hi Hilary,

At present we only have plans to run the seminars in London, and Medway, if things change we'll update this piece. Alternatively, if you'd like to be added to the contact list for future seminar information please email to register an interest.

OBV free seminar Magistrate scheme

Thank you

Magistrate Seminar - 14th May 2011


Yesterday I faxed an application form through to attend seminar on 14th May. I haven't had a response. Am I too late? If so, may i be put thorugh for the next upcoming such event? Regards

Place secured

Hi Brenda,

I've spoken with the event organiser and can confirm that your fax has been received. The organiser will email you details directly.



Place Secured?

Hi Leon

Thanks for your response. I do understand that I should wait for direct response, I however, haven't yet received any response whatsoever.


Expect a phone call

Hi Brenda,

Merlene will contact you via telephone today.



The Shadowing Scheme is Fantastic !!

I was fortunate enought to be with OBV's Shadowing Scheme a few years ago. I have now been serving for 2 years as a Magistrate. It's absolutely Fantastic !!!!! The entire OBV team are extremely supportive throughout the whole process. Join Up !!!!!

Magistrate Seminars/Date for the Northwest

Dear Leon!

Please add us to your mailing list for Magistrate Seminars in the Northwest; as am very interested in your training. However am willing to take up one of your day training in London do inform me of July available dates.

Magistrate seminars

Hi Mantel!

I'd would suggest contacting my colleague Merlene Carrington via quoting ‘Regional Seminars’ in the subject field asking to be put on the mailing list and for further details about the July seminars.


please forward me details on how i can apply to become a magistrate in the northwest

becoming a magistrate

I would like to be a magistrate, I have applied a few times, but have been old there are no vacancies, can you please advice and help me to become a magistrate

Becoming a magistrate

Hi Diane, please contact Francine on 0208 983 5426 for information on how to apply to become a magistrate.