Headlines: August 6th, 1998

The Lord Chancellor has listed the qualities needed for members of the public
to help him deliver Britain’s justice system.

Coming on the back of recent government announcements that demand greater
involvement of ordinary people, volunteers and businesses in decisions on
services, the new procedures provide a useful checklist for any public servant
working in partnership with members of the public.

The revisions made by Lord Irvine will bring the rules and paperwork supporting the appointment of lay magistrates into line with those for professional judges.

They also provide clear guidance where previously there was little, such as a
clear job description for magistrates. There is also a directive as to the
key qualities defining the suitability of candidates, who need good character,
communication skills, social awareness, maturity and sound temperament,
judgement, commitment and reliability.

Step-by-step guidance is also provided on dealing with those cases where the
conduct or competence of a magistrate is called into question.

The application form and guidance notes will shortly be placed on the internet
at: ww.open.gov.uk/lcd/magist/magistfr.htm.