§ 34. Mr. Ben Chapman
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if he will make a statement on the progress of the work to develop a national strategy for the recruitment of lay magistrates.
§ 35. Mr. Bellingham
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to encourage recruitment to the lay magistracy; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Wills
My noble and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor hopes to be able to announce proposals for the creation of a national strategy for recruitment early next year. This will seek to identify a range of activities which will bring more fully to the attention of the public and employers, the role of the lay magistrate and the need for recruits from all walks of life.
§ Mr. Garnier
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many chairmen of lay magistrates are in post; and how many of them are(a) from the ethnic minority communities, (b) under 45 years and (c) women.
§ Mr. Wills
The chairman of each magistrates bench is elected by the magistrates of the bench at the bench annual general meeting in October. Apart from providing, through subordinate legislation, the framework within which the elections may take place, their appointment is not a matter for my noble and learned Friend, the Lord Chancellor, and his Department does not keep the figures sought.