§ Mr. Hoon
The Lord Chancellor requires his Advisory Committees on the appointment of lay magistrates to identify the ethnic composition of their areas and to make strenuous efforts to recruit suitable persons to reflect that composition. A survey of lay magistrates (excluding those in the Duchy of Lancaster) conducted in 1997 indicated that 4.1 per cent. classified themselves as belonging to an ethnic minority. In 1997 the percentage of appointments from the ethnic minorities was 6.5 per cent. Vacancies for acting Stipendiary Magistrates and Stipendiary Magistrates are open to all who are statutorily qualified and applications from members of ethnic minorities are positively encouraged.
§ Mr. Hoon
In 1997 the Lord Chancellor approved a major change in the way lay magistrates are trained. In future they will have to demonstrate, through appraisal, performance against a range of required competencies in order that they will be able fully to discharge the full implications of the Judicial Oath. These competencies include: knowledge of different cultures, ethnic minority communities, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, discrimination and its impact, relevant equality legislation, an understanding of labelling, stereotyping, language and cultural differences, body language and one's own conditioning and personal prejudices.
This new approach to training is being implemented by Magistrates Court Committees over the next 12 months.
As part of the resources for achieving the attainment of these competencies the Judicial Studies Board, in conjunction with the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO), has produced an Equal Treatment training pack which has been supplied to each MCC and magistrates' training officer.333W