Aruj shares her thoughts on becoming a magistrate and what she enjoys about the role.
What made you want to become a magistrate?
I wanted to try to understand more about the sometimes, complex reasons which lead to offending behaviour. I hope that by raising awareness of these problems we can, as a community, and as a country, continue to put in place fair and useful measures which can make a positive impact to change the direction of someone’s life.
What would you say to anyone else considering becoming a magistrate?
Don’t hesitate! You will be amazed at what you learn. Not only practical skills, which improve employability and communication, but also the opportunity to meet so many passionate and proactive people from a wide range of backgrounds. They, like you, want to make positive changes in their communities. From those in the court to those outside, you will always be able to feel the sense of community within the magistracy.
How would you describe your role as a magistrate?
My role as a magistrate is fairly simple. I must deliver punishment to those who have been convicted of a crime and always consider, where relevant or necessary, if any rehabilitation measures can be enforced to help reduce re-offending behaviour. My role is to uphold the law, by being fair, impartial and unbiased, considering each offenders individual circumstances and how that influences their offending behaviour.
What are some of the most rewarding elements of the role?
- meeting like-minded individuals with similar goals, who commit their time and money to help improve their local communities
- seeing how your decisions can positively impact defendants and complainants
- being a part of something bigger
How did you find the application process?
The application process is just like a job interview. There is an application form and then an interview. Conducted by people who will soon become your peers, they are open and willing to offer insight to their experiences on the ‘job’. There are no trick questions. All that’s required is for you to be yourself and demonstrate why you’re passionate to volunteer your time to support the magistracy.
What do you think are some of the most important qualities in a magistrate?
There are many key qualities that are necessary to become a magistrate. I would say that a leading quality is to be unbiased and fair. You will be making decisions which will heavily affect people’s lives. You must also:
- be willing to hear all considerations and make a balanced and impartial decision on how to handle individual cases
- ensure you are working as effectively as possible through continuous training and self-development
- listen and communicate with your peers and colleagues, as well as to defendants, complainants, and other people in the court
- be able to work effectively within all environments, taking in large amounts of information
- have the ability to communicate your decisions back logically and clearly