Personal Qualities And Attributes Of A Magistrate
Whether you are yet to apply to become a magistrate, or you are currently going through the selection process, it is absolutely vital you demonstrate the 6 key qualities at every stage of the selection process, including the application form and also the first and second interviews.
In this article we will explore the qualities so that you can match them during the magistrate application process.
The following are the six key qualities required to become a magistrate in England and Wales.
This quality assesses your personal integrity, your respect and trust of others, the respect for confidences and also assesses whether or not you have anything in your life which may bring the Magistracy into disrepute. You should also have a willingness to be circumspect in private, during work and also in public life.
You will be asked the good character question early on during the selection process, both on the application form and also at the interview. If you fail to demonstrate to the Local Advisory Panel that you are of good character then you will not become a magistrate under any circumstances.
Understanding and communication
As a serving magistrate in England and Wales you must have the ability to understand documents, identify and comprehend relevant facts and follow evidence and arguments. You will also need an ability to concentrate and communicate effectively with the different people within the courtroom.
There will be a court legal advisor who will advise you on legal matters pertaining to the case you are hearing. With regards to sentencing you will have to learn and follow the sentencing guidelines.
Magistrates need to show an appreciation and acceptance of the rule of law. You will also have to have an understanding of the community in which you are serving in and have total respect for people from different backgrounds, religious beliefs, gender etc. During the magistrate first interview you may get asked a question that assesses your knowledge and understanding of your local community. The best way to be able to answer this effectively is to have some previous experience of working within the community.
Maturity and sound temperament
It goes without saying that magistrates have to have an ability to relate to and work with others and have respect/regard for their opinions and views. You should also have the qualities of maturity and humanity but also be firm and decisive when required.
Naturally, magistrates must have common sense and have the capability of being able to think logically. On a daily basis you must weigh up the different arguments and reach a balanced decision in association with the other two magistrates on the bench. Your decisions must be without prejudice.
Commitment and reliability
Magistrates in England and Wales need to undertake at least 26 half day sittings a year. In addition to this you will have to have the time to attend your initial training and also continuation training. Naturally, you will need to have the support of your employer and your family.
See here to find out more about becoming a magistrate.