If you meet the eligibility criteria in your application, you will be invited to take the magistrates recruitment qualifying assessment.
In this assessment, you will be presented with a series of realistic scenarios that a magistrate may experience. For each question, you will be provided with a hypothetical situation that you may encounter as a magistrate and asked how best to respond to each of them as if you were a sitting magistrate. For each situation, you are presented with a list of four actions that could be taken to deal with the situation.
Your task will be to rank order the response options based on how effective you think each response option is, from most effective to least effective.
We do not expect you to have any prior knowledge or experience in order to answer these questions, so please ensure that you base your answers on the information you are provided with for each situation. There is a glossary of terms that will be attached to each scenario which can be referred to for definitions on technical or procedural words if required.
You are sitting in a court case where a mother is trying to legally compel her 14-year-old son to see her every fortnight after being absent from his life for 9 years. The son does not want to have contact with his mother and is disputing the arrangement. You and the other magistrates have agreed that the son should not be compelled to see his mother. You all also agree that you fear the son may later regret his decision. The Presiding Justice has asked you for advice on the best way to communicate the decision to the mother and son.
- Explain that the Presiding Justice does not need to provide a detailed explanation in this case, and they should focus on communicating the outcome clearly
- Suggest that the Presiding Justice encourages the mother to remain positive that she will be able to rebuild a relationship with her son over time
- Suggest that the Presiding Justice should provide a detailed explanation to both of them on why the decision was made
- Suggest that the Presiding Justice should inform the son that if he changes his mind, he will have to contact his mother in future.
The most effective response would be option 3 (suggest that the Presiding Justice should provide a detailed explanation to both of them on why the decision was made). It is important that magistrates communicate clearly, and with respect, to ensure that decisions are understood and transparent.
The least effective response would be option 1 (Explain that the Presiding Justice does not need to provide a detailed explanation in this case and they should focus on communicating the outcome clearly). Whilst it is important to communicate the outcome clearly, it is also important to communicate in a respectful way that is respectful, and provides sufficient explanation to those it affects.
You are in a break out room with two other magistrates, Nathanial and Joost. You are considering whether to find a defendant guilty or not guilty. Both Nathanial and Joost believe that the defendant is guilty because the majority of evidence suggests the defendant committed the crime. You are unsure whether the defendant is guilty or not. You also feel that Nathanial and Joost have overlooked a small and relevant piece of evidence. Do you:
- Inform Nathanial and Joost of the small piece of evidence they have overlooked and how it may be relevant to the case
- Tell Nathanial and Joost that you are unsure if the defendant is guilty and ask if you can compare court notes to help come to a decision
- Review your court notes to see what the majority of evidence suggests and use it to decide if the defendant is guilty
- Ask Nathanial and Joost to explore the possibility that the defendant is not guilty by reviewing evidence that supports the defendant’s case
The most effective response would be option 1 (Inform Nathanial and Joost of the small piece of evidence they have overlooked and how it may be relevant to the case). Magistrates must make fair, impartial and transparent decisions, and it is important to ensure that due process and consideration are shown to all evidence when making these decisions.
The least effective response would be option 3 (Review your court notes to see what the majority of evidence suggests and use it to decide if the defendant is guilty). Magistrates work as together as a bench with other magistrates to come to decisions. In order to make fair, impartial and transparent decisions, it is important to communicate with colleagues.