'Trainee' plan for more black magistrates

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Members of Britain's minority communities are to be offered places on a government "apprenticeship" scheme to help them become magistrates.

Members of Britain's minority communities are to be offered places on a government "apprenticeship" scheme to help them become magistrates.

The Lord Chancellor's Department, concerned that only 4.5 per cent of magistrates are from minorities, is about to announce a "shadowing"scheme so that black and Asian people can gain first-hand experience of the running of the courts. It is designed to break down barriers between the magistracy and minority communities after several reports have called for the justice system to become more inclusive.

Thirty places for Caribbean, African, Asian and other groups are being funded by the Lord Chancellor's Department on the scheme, which is to be unveiled by Lord Irvine of Lairg.

The programme is also designed to give the court system a greater understanding of the concerns of ethnic minorities. Those appointed will act as ambassadors within their communities to encourage more black people to join the bench.