There are currently 12,651 magistrates in post across England and Wales. Magistrates do not need any specific legal training and do not sit exams. Magistrates undergo mandatory training of about three-and-a-half days before sitting in court and are allocated a mentor in the first year. After sitting for 12 months, they are regularly appraised by specially trained magistrates.
The changes will come into force ‘in the coming months’ via a commencement order and apply to England and Wales. Magistrates will need to complete ‘proper training’ provided by the Judicial College before the new powers are granted. An ‘off switch’ will be included in the Judicial Review and Courts Bill to end the measures if needed.
Raab said: ‘This important measure will provide additional capacity to drive down the backlog of cases in the Crown courts over the coming years. Together with the Nightingale courts, digital hearings and unlimited sitting days, we will deliver swifter and more effective justice as we build back a stronger, safer and fairer society after the pandemic.’
Bev Higgs, national chair of the Magistrates Association, said: ‘We have been campaigning for years for magistrates’ sentencing powers to be extended to 12 months for single offences, so we are delighted with the Lord Chancellor’s announcement today. It is absolutely the right time to re-align where cases are heard to ensure a safe, effective, and efficient justice system and this demonstrates great confidence in the magistracy.
For full article https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/magistrates-to-get-power-to-impose-one-year-jail-terms-to-cut-backlog/5111175.article?utm_source=gazette_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Bar%27s+%27yes%27+to+direct+action+%7c+Magistrates+to+get+powers+to+impose+one-year+jail+terms+%7c+Representing+the+abandoned_01%2f18%2f2022