HC Deb 19 May 2004 vol 421 cc1081-2W
Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many magistrates are aged(a) 25 to 30, (b) 30 to 40, (c) 40 to 50, (d) 50 to 60, (e) 60 to 65 and (f) 65 to 70 in (i) Lancashire and (ii) Chorley magistrates' courts, broken down by sex. [173768]

Mr. Alexander

At 31 March 2004 the available figures show that there were 616 men and 526 women serving as Active Magistrates in the Lancashire Commission Area. Of this number, the Chorley Bench comprises of 37 men and 36 women. These statistics are broken down into age categories as shown in the following table.

Chorley Lancashire
Age Male Female Male Female
Under 30 0 0 1 2
30–40 0 1 12 17
40–50 3 3 91 89
Chorley Lancashire
Age Male Female Male Female
50–60 16 21 244 249
60–65 17 8 188 118
66–70 1 3 80 51

Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office who is responsible for selecting new magistrates in Lancashire; and what process is used. [173769]

Mr. Alexander

As Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancashire, I have the responsibility for the appointment of magistrates in Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside.

In the Lancashire area, I am aided by the Lancashire Advisory Committee and its five Sub-Committees, who interview and then recommend to me those found suitable for appointment as magistrates. These Sub-Committees generally comprise of six magistrate members and three individuals who are not magistrates.

Throughout the selection process, the Advisory Committees adhere to the guidance set out in the Directions for Advisory Committees. The guidance offered in these Directions is identical to that issued by the Lord Chancellor to his Advisory Committees in the remainder of England and Wales.

Generally, candidates must demonstrate six key qualities to be found suitable for appointment:

  • Good character
  • Understanding and communication
  • Social awareness
  • Maturity and sound temperament
  • Sound judgement
  • Commitment and reliability

These qualities are tested during a two-stage interview process by a panel of a Committee or Sub-Committee comprising of two magistrate and one non-magistrate members.