HC Deb 03 April 2001 vol 366 c173W
35. Mr. Ben Chapman

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will make a statement on progress in widening the social background of magistrates. [155206]

Jane Kennedy

As the Government announced in "Criminal Justice: The Way Ahead" (CM5074), my noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor has asked for a national strategy for the recruitment of lay magistrates to be developed. A lot of good work is done by the local advisory committees who do encourage people from all walks of life to consider applying.

The Magistrates in the Community project run by the Magistrates Association and funded by my Department also does valuable work in raising the profile of justices of the peace. We need however to see whether there is more we should be doing from the centre to get the message across that we want benches to be representative of the community they serve.