A Justice of the Peace is a member of the public who hears less serious criminal cases such as:
- minor assault
- antisocial behaviour
- road traffic offences
A Justice of the Peace does not need to be legally qualified. They are ordinary members of the community who volunteer their time.
The Justice of the Peace hears the case and decides whether an accused person is guilty or innocent. They can give punishments such as:
- fines of up to £2,500
- prison for up to 2 months
- unpaid work in the community
Justices might sit alone, or with 2 other Justices.. They will also have a legal adviser in court to help with questions about the law.
Who can become a Justice of the Peace
Justices come from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations.
You do not need formal qualifications or legal training. You'll get full training for the role, and a legal adviser in court will help you with questions about the law.
You cannot become a Justice of the Peace if you:
- are over 70
- are a member of a local authority - are a member of the Scottish Parliament
- are a member of the House of Commons
- are a members of the House of Lords
- have been the subject of sequestration or bankruptcy proceedings
Time off work
The role of Justice of the Peace is voluntary and unpaid, although you may get reasonable travel expenses. Most employers will give you time off with pay or let you claim for your loss of earnings.
You can read more about time off work for public duty in Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
Apply to become a Justice of the Peace
You do not need specific qualifications but you'll need to be highly committed and be able to make good, sound judgements.
You must live within 15 miles of the sheriffdom you work in.
There are no Justice of the Peace vacancies at the moment. The next round of recruitment will take place in early 2023, please check back then.
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