THE search is on to recruit more magistrates to serve in Warrington Magistrates' Court.

The Cheshire and Merseyside Advisory Committee is launching a new recruitment drive for the criminal courts in Warrington, Crewe and Chester, as well as the family courts in Crewe, Chester and Liverpool.

Every criminal case starts in the magistrates' court, and while more serious cases are referred up to crown courts, magistrates can give punishments such as fines or unpaid work in the community and even send criminals to prison for up to 12 months.

In the family courts, magistrates make life-changing decisions for the benefit of children.

They can help separated parents make visitation arrangements, enforce child maintenance orders and make decisions that seek to prevent domestic abuse.

A newly appointed magistrate said: "My father had greatly enjoyed serving as a magistrate and I have always been interested in the workings of the judiciary system.

"I am very excited to undertake my training, albeit online for now, and begin my service on the bench, hoping that I can help to make a difference for victims and perpetrators alike where appropriate.

"I am honoured and humbled to have made it through the process and it has been well worth the effort."

Magistrates receive regular training, usually sit in threes with an experienced chairperson and receive advice from a qualified legal adviser to ensure the correct legal procedures are always followed.

Anyone can apply to become a magistrate aged between 18 and 65 - background, ethnicity, education and employment are not important.

You must however sit for at least 13 days a year, be aware of social issues, have sound judgement and be of good character.

Applications are being accepted until November 30.

Find out more and apply at