The Lord-Lieutenant’s role within the Magistracy of Sussex

The History

The role of Justices of The Peace was created in 1361 so in 2011 Magistrates celebrated the 650th anniversary of their creation. This ancient office continues to provide local justice for local citizens. Magistrates continue to be drawn from people of good character who are required to sit in judgement on their peers. Traditionally the Lord-Lieutenant was responsible to the Crown for enforcing law and order and held the power to appoint Justices of the Peace to The Magistrates Bench, a traditional term for the Panel of Magistrates, within his County. He is Custos Rotulorum or Master of the Rolls

The Magistracy Today

Today the Lord-Lieutenant chairs the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Panel on the Magistracy, (now jointly chaired by the Lord-Lieutenants of East and West Sussex as the administrative area now covers both Counties). The task of the committee is to select suitable persons from volunteers to join the Bench from a wide variety of walks of life. The Magistracy still holds true to its origins of passing local judgement on their peers. In Sussex there are about 355 Justices of the Peace allocated to three Benches, (Sussex Eastern, Sussex Central and Western).   Justices of the Peace are expected to sit a minimum of 13 days a year. The role is unpaid.

The Call for Volunteers

The Advisory Panel will call for volunteers to fill vacancies as they become available. Successful applicants will be sworn in before the Magistrates Liaison Judge (currently Her Honour Judge Laing QC). The Lord- Lieutenant is present in East Sussex at Lewes Crown Court for the ceremony. This is followed by a period of training before new Magistrates are qualified to sit in Court.

Those interested in applying to become a Magistrate should seek further information from Click here for more information >>

Satisfaction Gained

The Lord-Lieutenant wishes to encourages all those who feel they have the capability to rise to the challenge, particularly the younger members of society, to volunteer themselves for this fulfilling and worthwhile duty to for the community.