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Local magistrates needed

Hertford's Shire Hall
Hertford's Shire Hall
Photo © Steve Beeston and courtesy of Discover Hertford
Herts is looking for new recruits to serve as magistrates. The authority has organised an open evening for those interested.

The event takes place on Monday, January 20, from 6pm to 8pm, at four courts around the county, including Hertford’s Shire Hall, and the Civic Centre in St Albans. There are also sessions in Stevenage and Watford.

Visitors will be shown round by serving magistrates and officers of the court, who will also give informal presentations and answer questions. There is no need to reserve a place, just turn up on the evening.

A Brookmans Park resident and forum user, who has been serving as a magistrate for a couple of years, has written a feature for this site about the responsibilities and rewards of serving as a magistrate.

Those selected to serve as magistrates deal with criminal cases such as theft, criminal damage, public disorder and motoring offences. They work as a team of three, listen to the evidence and make structured decisions. The court clerk helps them with legal issues.

Information packs and application forms will be available at the open evenings. They can also be obtained from the Lieutenancy Office, County Hall, Hertford SG13 8DE. Completed application forms must be returned by March 31, 2003.

There are no formal or academic qualifications for magistrates, but candidates must satisfy an interview panel that they have respect for the law, an awareness of social issues, maturity, sound judgement and the ability to listen to all sides of an argument. They also need to show they will be able to contribute to a balanced and fair decision.

Herts is particularly looking for applications from people aged between 18 and 40.

Magistrates are expected to attend court about 18 days a year. There will be training provided, but magistrates are not paid for their work. Some allowance are offered for travelling, subsistence and, in some circumstance, financial loss.

The Hertfordshire Magistrates' Courts Service site has more information on what is involved in becoming a magistrate.

January 14, 2003

Related item
What it means to be a magistrate (feature) - January 14, 2003

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