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Last Updated: Friday, 2 July, 2004, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Drive for 'minority' magistrates
Lord Falconer
Lord Falconer wants the magistracy to be more diverse
A member of the House of Lords has appealed for more people from ethnic minority communities to become magistrates.

Lord Falconer said the myth that a magistrate had to be a white, middle class, middle-aged professional was "erroneous" and should be challenged.

The constitutional affairs secretary made the comments while visiting Bournemouth Crown Court on Friday.

Of the 322 magistrates in Dorset, only eight come from an ethnic minority.

'Challenging role'

Lord Falconer said: "We need to re-double our efforts and recruit younger magistrates and increase the number of candidates from a more diverse background."

The minister spoke while touring several agencies and staff within the Criminal Justice System (CJS).

The county's youngest sitting magistrate, 29-year-old Heidi Leavesley, was appointed last year.

She said: "Becoming a magistrate has been rewarding for so many reasons.

"The role is so stimulating and challenging personally and allows me to make a real contribution to my community."



Courts turn off ethnic minorities
11 Jul 03  |  Derbyshire
Magistrates court faces sell off
08 Jul 03  |  Derbyshire
Push to recruit ethnic magistrates
02 Jul 03  |  Derbyshire

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