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Employers should help staff be magistrates

17 September 2005 - Employers are being encouraged to give staff time off to serve as magistrates in a new ad campaign. Adverts are appearing in the following national newspapers and trade magazines from this week: The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, People Management, Human Resources, Personnel Today, Management Today, Director, Real Business and Business Voice. The 200,000 campaign highlights the benefits that magistrates can bring to their workplace including decision-making, problem solving, communication and teamworking. Regional campaigns to recruit magistrates will also start appearing in the local press soon

28,500 magistrates in England and Wales deal with around 95% of criminal cases and are a crucial part of the justice system. Decisions made by magistrates affect the lives of victims and witnesses of crime, defendants, their families and the community.

Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer said:

"Magistrates are an important part of the judiciary. They are men and women who care about justice and give up their time to serve the community. They are a cornerstone of the justice system.

"It is important that we get magistrates from every background to have a bench that reflects the local community. We want to recruit more young people, especially those in employment to ensure that they too are represented in the magistracy.

"I am urging employers to support staff who want to be magistrates by giving them time off to serve on the bench. Their staff will in turn bring a great deal back to the workplace.

Sir Digby Jones, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, backed the new drive. He said:

"Magistrates are an important part of any community, and look after the interests of everyone including business. Their work to help reduce crime and nuisance in a neighbourhood can have a direct effect on the wellbeing of local firms.

"Responsible businesses have a major role to play in their local community. The daily lives of their employees are affected by what goes on around them, particularly when it comes to law and order. Giving employees paid time off to work as magistrates is an essential part of this role, fosters goodwill in the community and can be very rewarding in terms of personnel development".



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