The Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine has welcomed news that ten per cent of new magistrates are now over 55.
It follows the increase of the upper age limit for the appointment of magistrates from the age of 55, which had operated in practice, to 65.
Lord Irvine was known to regard the existing policy as ageist, and failing to pay sufficient regard to the contribution which older people could make to the life of their communities.
It also failed to tap the increasing pool of people who take early retirement but who still have something to contribute to society.
Lord Irvine said “This policy should also be seen in the context of work being undertaken across Government to recognise the wealth of experience vested in older people and to encourage their greater participation in their communities.”
The Government has warned organisations of the statistics which argue practically against treating employees over 50 unfairly. New figures show that in eight years time 25 per cent of the workforce will be in this category.
The Government plans to publish a non-statutory Code of Practice in the Autumn to combat age discrimination.