Magistrate | Selby College
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Magistrates are volunteers who hear cases in court. They pass judgements and hand down short sentences, fines and other penalties.

Potential salary


Employment by 2024


Working hours


  • active listening skills
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • knowledge of English language
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • sitting with 2 other magistrates in adult and youth courts
  • listening to evidence from witnesses, defendants, complainants and victims
  • taking advice from the court legal adviser on points of law
  • making judgements and explaining reasons
  • considering applications for bail and setting conditions
  • passing prison sentences, fines, or community and training orders
  • sending more serious cases up to crown court for jury trial
  • working in family courts, dealing with cases like adoption or domestic abuse
  • mentoring and supporting new magistrates

You may need to wear smart business dress.

You could work in a court or in an office.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

With experience, you could act as the chairperson or presiding magistrate on a panel of 3 magistrates in court.

You could also specialise in particular courts like the family court, or the youth court, dealing with young people aged between 10 and 17. You could volunteer to mentor new magistrates or apply to sit with judges on panels hearing appeals.

You could also use your experience to join committees advising policy makers on judicial issues, for example prison standards or sentencing guidelines.

You can find out more about how to become a magistrate from the:Magistrates Association; Courts and Tribunals Judiciary; GOV.UK

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