An advertising campaign has begun to encourage employers to give staff time off to serve as magistrates.
The adverts – which will appear in national newspapers and trade magazines from this week – were placed by the Department for Constitutional Affairs to highlight the benefits that magistrates can bring to their workplace in areas including decision-making, problem solving and communication.
The secretary of state for constitutional affairs, Lord Falconer, said magistrates were a cornerstone of the justice system and it was important that they are drawn from every background.
It is important to recruit more young people, especially those in employment, to ensure that they are represented in the magistracy, he said.
“I am urging employers to support staff who want to be magistrates by giving them time off to serve on the bench. Their staff will in turn bring a great deal back to the workplace.
Digby Jones, director-general of the CBI, said magistrates’ work to help reduce crime and nuisance in a neighbourhood can have a direct effect on the wellbeing of local firms.
“Responsible businesses have a major role to play in their local community – the daily lives of their employees are affected by what goes on around them, particularly when it comes to law and order,” he said.
“Giving employees paid time off to work as magistrates is an essential part of this role, fosters goodwill in the community and can be very rewarding in terms of personnel development.”