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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Monday 25 September 2017

Become a Family Beak: the Law Needs You!

There aren't enough magistrates in England and Wales to deal with the increasing workload of family cases: that's principally disputes about the welfare of children, child adoption and  proceedings arising out of  domestic violence. To solve the problem it has just been announced that it will be possible to apply to be appointed as a magistrate hearing only this type of case and so sitting in the Family Court. Until now magistrates have covered both criminal cases and family cases  and only been able to touch those family cases after deciding the fate of alleged speeders, shoplifters and sex maniacs for at least two years.

This new appointments procedure is being tried out in Birmingham, Greater Manchester and London during which time the eligibility criteria is being relaxed. No role or occupation will be explicitly ruled out. But if you are under 18 or over 65, are a wife beater or can't tell the difference between a child and a kangaroo, do not trouble to apply.

Magistrates are required to sit for at least 13 full days or 26 half days a year and attend training and occasional meetings after court. They will be expected to be living or working in or reasonably close to the area in which they are to to serve.

If you fancy the idea of administering family justice and reckon you make a decision  which  you will still be confident in when you get home from court and consume your fish, chips and pickled onions, then take a look at https://www.gov.uk/become-magistrate/apply-to-be-a-magistrate and  https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/you-and-the-judiciary/going-to-court/familylaw-courts/   

Silence in court.