The Magistrates Shadowing Scheme 2010/11
There are over 30,000 magistrates – called Justices of the Peace (JPs) – dispensing justice in magistrates courts around the country. The numbers of magistrates from BME groups make up approximately 8% of this figure.
Magistrates’ courts should look like the people they seek to server, however, in many areas the court's officials do not adequately reflect the faces of all those who use it.
The Magistrates Shadowing Scheme was launched in 2001 to help redress the balance between those who are subject to the courts and those who are represented within it.
The scheme is run in partnership with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and is welcomed by magistrates’ courts around the country.
It promotes the work of the magistracy through learning seminars and shadowing and encourages BME individuals to apply to become magistrates.
A 2010 House of Commons celebration honoured over 60 JPs, appointed as a result of the scheme.
Many more are in the process of applying, while others use the experience to educate friends, colleagues and family about the work of the magistracy, recommending that they too apply.