Employees who volunteer as judges can prove to be good for business

  • employers benefit from the skills staff acquire through judge training
  • The Justice of England and Wales and the MoJ appealed to employers to support the search for 4,000 more judges
  • applications are now open to anyone who wants to volunteer: icanbeamagistrate.co.uk

With new government data showing 7 million people taking part in volunteering between 2021-22*, the MoJ is calling for more employers to join the hundreds already seeing increased business and encouraging staff to volunteer as judges.

More than 12,000 judges currently volunteer across England and Wales and are developing transferable skills such as critical analysis, complex problem solving and mediation. And according to MoJ research,** 55% of employer decision-makers think employees who also serve as judges will develop better soft or professional skills.

In fact, HR and business leaders report the best qualities of their staff, who are judges, have good judgment (89%) and effective decision-making skills (81%).

Supporting staff to volunteer can also increase recruitment. Evidence shows people are more likely to want to work for organizations that give back to society.

Additionally, having a judge as an employee offers an advantage for organizations to attract and retain talent. Nearly 1 in 10 volunteers recognize it as a way to ‘advance their career’, so employer support is likely to be welcome.

Pam Sheemar, a judge and NatWest employee, said:

I am passionate about becoming a judge because it is important for the court system to reflect the community and people it serves. I have never looked back after six years of service and would encourage anyone who wants to support their community to get involved.

While 84% of business decision makers would generally support an employee wanting to become a judge, research from the MoJ suggests that some employers may need more awareness about how volunteering as a judge will impact their business. Only 66% of decision makers say they know what judges are and what they do, and 56% are unaware that judges only need to be in court 13 days a year.

In fact, many judges fulfill this important role in addition to full-time employment and caregiving responsibilities.

Through targeted marketing, MoJ and Judiciary aim to highlight the role of judges and attract 4,000 new volunteers across England and Wales. This recruitment drive was the largest in magistracy history.

Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Dominic Raab, said:

Judges play an important role in our justice system and develop a variety of skills while conducting training and making important court decisions that are invaluable in the workplace.

They bring this to bear on their employers, bringing significant benefits to the businesses they work for.

Employers must, by law, allow employees who are judges on reasonable leave to perform their duties. Volunteer staff must be in court at least 13 days, or 26 and a half days a year, but because judicial rota are provided well in advance, there is plenty of time to plan and agree on time off.

While employers are not required to pay employees for their judge work, many choose to do so. However, judges who are not paid by their employers can claim alimony from the court for loss of income.

Dipesh Mistry, Chair of the NatWest Midlands and East Regional Council, said:

NatWest is committed to supporting and giving back to the communities in which we operate.

The Ministry of Justice’s hiring drive and the qualities they look for in people who will make great judges align with our values ​​as an inclusive, curious, and strong organization.

By encouraging our employees to volunteer as judges, they not only create positive change for their communities and reflect our values, but they are also able to build skills that benefit our business such as decision-making and teamwork.

Volunteering as a judge is open to most of the workforce. No legal qualifications or experience are required, and one’s level of education is not a barrier. Anyone between the ages of 18 and 74 who wants to challenge themselves, develop new skills and create positive change for the good of their community can be the judge.

Volunteers will work closely with two other judges and legal counsel, who will offer guidance on the law.

Vacancies in many areas are now open. Anyone wishing to apply, or to be notified when vacancies open in their area, should visit the judge recruitment site for more information.

Note to editors

*By 22/2021, 16% of respondents (around 7 million people in the UK) took part in formal volunteering at least once a month in the last 12 months, in line with figures in 2020/21 (17%). However, this participation rate was recorded as the lowest since data collection began with the Community Life Survey. In 2019/20, 23% of adults took part in formal volunteering at least once a month: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/community-life-survey-202122/community-life-survey-202122-volunteering -and-charity-giving

** All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size is 515 (recruitment or staffing decision makers). Fieldwork was carried out between 9 February and 2 March 2021. The survey was conducted online. The figures have been weighted and represent businesses in England and Wales.

  • If you want to support your employee volunteering as a judge visit: icanbeamagistate.co.uk/employer-advice
  • The MoJ has invested over £1 million to support the recruitment of new and diverse judges, the government’s top priority for the magistracy.
  • The revised and simplified recruitment process launched in January 2022, with applications made online through a digital recruitment system that has modernized the candidate experience and allowed the MoJ to better monitor recruitment information, including applicant diversity.
  • This recruitment campaign is supported by the HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and the Judiciary of England and Wales, who provide support and training to judges.

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