Volunteering as a magistrate

Head of Magistrates Policy, Ministry of Justice

Laura Wilson

Head of Magistrates Policy, Ministry of Justice

Last updated: 26th May 2022

As the world’s largest and most influential professional body for construction management and leadership we are delighted the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) is supporting the Ministry of Justice’s national campaign to recruit over 4,000 new magistrates in England and Wales.

As leaders in your sector we believe you can play a prominent role in encouraging your members to apply to volunteer as magistrates. CIOB members can greatly benefit from encouraging employees to become magistrates, as supporting volunteers and demonstrating social responsibility is particularly crucial for employers in the current battle to attract and retain talent.

Encouraging your members to volunteer as magistrates will also mean you are able to connect with your local communities, giving you more insights and connections into the communities who’s built environments you are focused on improving. As an industry, you play such a critical role in place-making – and with this comes a connection to local places and communities which can be really enhanced by volunteering.

Magistrates can also bring invaluable skills back into the business. Magistrates receive excellent training covering a range of transferrable skills, from critical analysis and problem solving to influencing others and decision making.

It is important to note a magistrate’s role is voluntary with individuals expected to dedicate a minimum of 13 days a year service. Members would need to ask their employer to allow for time off work for this type of public service volunteering. It is at the employer’s discretion whether this is paid or unpaid leave, but many employers support their employees by granting paid leave for at least some of a magistrate’s sitting days.

Below are five steps to becoming a magistrate:

  1. Check if the role is right for you by visiting
  2. Talk to your HR department and family or friends and make sure you can spare the time. You’ll need to volunteer for at least 13 days a year, for at least five years.
  3. If you’re applying to the criminal court, make sure you do two court visits before you apply and if you’re applying to the family court, make sure you do some research (family courts are closed, so you won’t be able to visit one).
  4. Check for vacancies on the magistrate recruitment website and fill out an online application form. There is guidance to help with this in our website FAQs
  5. If you’re shortlisted, you’ll be called for an interview. Once appointed, you’re not on your own – you'll get ongoing training and support and be assigned a mentor.

Becoming a Magistrate

Check if the role is right for you by opening the link below:

Visit website