Resources for Magistrates

The vast majority of criminal cases are heard by Magistrates in England and Wales. Over 95% of criminal cases will start proceedings in the Magistrates' Court including serious crimes such as murder, rape or sexual assault.

Magistrates are unpaid volunteers costing the public no more than limited expenses, training and legal guidance from a qualified Legal Advisor.

This website provides links to resources which Magistrates use for working on the Bench. Magistrates access offence guidelines and case papers using digital tablets improving Court efficiency and standards.

london panorama bridewell cells at Royal Leamingtonn Spa court room image  BBC news Warwickshire Justice Centre at Leamington Spa image  Nick Harrington

Dieu et mon droit

This is the motto of English and British monarchs adopted by Henry V. Every Magistrates' Court has this motto on a scroll beneath the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom on the outside of the Court building and in the court room. Dieu et mon droit has various translations including God and my right, God and my right hand and God and my lawful right. The same coat of arms is shown on the British Passport and many newspapers.

Become a Magistrate

Magistrates are unpaid volunteers from the community, aged over 18 to 65 and of good character. They sit unpaid for at least 13 days in any year and can claim for financial loss if their employer does not pay them for the time off work. Magistrates are recruited by legal justice areas in England and Wales. Click here to find out if an area near you is recruiting.

Community Payback unpaid work

Discharge, Fine, Community or Custodial Sentence

The Magistrates' Court have a broad range of sentencing options from absolute discharge, a financial penalty, sentence to a community order (such as unpaid work) and in the most serious of cases, a custodial sentence upto 6-months for a single offence.

How are offenders sentenced?

See how Judges and Magistrates decide on the right sentence.