Read our top five tips for passing the qualifying assessment.
Are you thinking about volunteering to be a magistrate?
Before you apply, you’ll need to do the following:
- If you want to volunteer in the criminal court, observe at least two hearings or do your research to play a part in the decisions made in family courts.
- Talk to your employer about the benefits of becoming a magistrate and the time commitment needed.
- Check our FAQs to make sure you’re eligible.
You will then be all set to register your interest or apply for a role. If you meet the eligibility criteria, you will be invited to take the qualifying assessment.
During the assessment, you will be presented with a series of realistic scenarios with four actions you could take to deal with the situation. You will then need to rank these options from most effective to least effective.
The purpose of the exercise is to help us determine if you are suitable for a role in the magistracy.
So, how should you prepare?
Here are our top five tips to help you pass.
Reflect on your research
There is a vast amount of information available to help you while researching – including videos – to put you in good stead ahead of the assessment. Bookmark our magistrate site and others you may have found useful, such as the Magistrates Association.
It is important to make sure the role is right for you before you apply, and your research will help you check.
It will also allow you to understand better the reality of being a magistrate. If you visited a court, you would have heard examples of the cases you may be required to judge. Your observations should form part of your reflection when completing the assessment.
Review the glossary
Do you know the difference between a Presiding Justice and a defence lawyer? What about a bench and a bench chair? These are some of the terms you may see completing the magistrate recruitment qualifying assessment, so helpfully, a glossary of terms is attached to each scenario presented.
Use it! There may be technical terms that you are unfamiliar with, so this is a handy document to keep open during the assessment.
Even if you feel confident in your understanding of the terms, it is worth one final check!
Remember the key attributes of a magistrate
There are five key attributes required to be a good magistrate to remember:
- Understand and appreciate different perspectives.
- Make fair, impartial, and transparent decisions.
- Communicate with sensitivity and respect.
- Show self-awareness and be open to learning.
- Work and engage with people professionally.
Think carefully about whether your answers reflect the values listed above because it’s vital they do.
You will be assessed at each stage of the application process to see if you are demonstrating those attributes.
So, take the time to remember the five characteristics. You can also read more about these attributes in our FAQs.
Practice, practice, practice!
There are practice questions on the magistrate recruitment website, so the best way to familiarise yourself with the look and feel of the test is to do a practice one.
You will need to respond to each scenario as if you are a sitting magistrate. You may experience these hypothetical situations if you become a magistrate, so consider this a trial run of volunteering in a court!
Take your time
The assessment is not timed, so there is no need to rush it.
Once you have made your decision, try to stick with it. Overthinking can be a gateway to uncertainty as there is likely to be a logical reason each answer is plausible. If you have thought about all the steps above before answering a question, be confident in your selection.
The good news is you will receive the outcome of the test shortly after you complete it.
So, what are you waiting for? Volunteer now!