A RECRUITMENT drive looking to find 40 new magistrates in Cheshire has begun, with applicants from all walks of life invited to apply.

Magistrates are volunteers who sit as a bench of three in a magistrates court, dealing with more than 95 per cent of all criminal cases.

Acting as judge and jury in their courts, magistrates hear various cases from assaults and domestic violence to road traffic offences and littering.

Applicants must be able to commit to three training days, and sit in court for a minimum of 13 days a year as well as attending occasional ongoing training. Interviews will be held in Liverpool after applications close on September 30.

To be selected you must be able to demonstrate the six key qualities required of a Magistrate, commit to three training days, and sit in court for a minimum of 13 days a year, as well as attending occasional on-going training days.

Stuart, who started sitting as a magistrate in January, said: “I find sitting on the bench very rewarding, going home believing that I have played my part in seeing that justice has been done.

“I have sat in courts dealing with more serious offences such as domestic violence and trials have been both interesting and thought provoking.”

“I have also been involved in the decision to sentence someone to prison. It is a big decision to deprive someone of their liberty, and not one taken lightly.

“There were long discussions about whether it was the right thing to do, what purpose it would serve and the impact on both the defendant, and of course the wider community and the victim.

“After all these discussions with my colleagues, I was sure we had done the right thing. I have found my colleagues on the bench to be helpful and approachable, even when we have not all agreed.”

If successful, applicants will serve on benches in Crewe, Chester and Warrington.

To apply or find more information, visit gov.uk/become-magistrate.