Third of all magistrates considering quitting ‘after being left out of pocket’

Westminster Magistrates’ Court  (PA Archive)
Westminster Magistrates’ Court (PA Archive)

A third of magistrates are contemplating quitting early amid complaints of wasted time and a “not fit for purpose” expenses regime that leaves them out of pocket, according to a survey.

Research by the Magistrates’ Association has revealed reasons why JPs consider giving up the role, including not feeling valued, concerns about the cost of taking up the voluntary post, and frustration at digital court reforms and IT systems.

The survey of almost 1,400 sitting magistrates also lays bare how black, Asian, ethnic minorities and young magistrates are put off by time wasted between court sessions or as a result of cancelled hearings.

The association has called on HM Courts and Tribunals Service to reform the expenses system after 57 per cent said they are left more out-of-pocket than a year ago.

Bev Higgs, chairman of the association, said: “It is unacceptable for magistrate volunteers to be expected to financially subsidise a vital function of public life.”

The Ministry of Justice said: “We have increased their allowances and are investing over £1 million for recruitment of new magistrates.”