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Volunteer as a magistrate

I can be a magistrate

Help make the decisions that shape your community, while you gain new skills.

What is a magistrate?

Magistrates are volunteers with no previous legal experience, who come from all walks of life. They make vital decisions on a variety of cases in the criminal court and family court – helping to protect, enhance and transform people’s lives.

Can anyone volunteer as a magistrate?

Whatever your level of education, if you’re aged between 18 and 74 and you want to challenge yourself, develop new skills and create positive change for the good of your own community, you can be a magistrate.

Why become a magistrate?

Our justice system in England and Wales has been founded on fairness and openness. These are key traits for making important legal decisions – decisions which are made by dedicated volunteers who are from, and truly understand, their local community.

At a glance


Do I need to have a legal background?

You don’t need any special qualifications or experience to be a magistrate, and we actively welcome people from all backgrounds. In fact, the more diverse our magistrates are, the more we can represent the different communities we’re here to support.

What is a magistrate?

What would I do?

Magistrates volunteer in both the family court and the criminal court, where they’re responsible for making vital decisions that protect, enhance and transform people’s lives.

Inside our courts

What about me, as an employer?

Your employee will need to volunteer for at least 13 days a year plus annual training. There are a few options as to how this can work, and the benefits to your organisation can be huge. Check out our information for employers to learn more.

Employer advice

I’m interested – what’s next?

If you’d like to volunteer as a magistrate, here’s everything you’ll need to know to decide if it’s the right opportunity for you, and to make your application.

How to volunteer