Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire
The Lord-Lieutenant is Her Majesty The Queen's representative in the county. The present Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire is Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton. Her appointment covers the whole historic County of Wiltshire, which is administered by Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council. The Lord-Lieutenant appoints Deputy Lieutenants to assist and support her in the County and appoints one of these as the Vice Lord-Lieutenant.
The Lord-Lieutenant, Vice Lord-Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenants are collectively referred to as the Lieutenancy.
HM Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire
Lord-Lieutenants are appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, and the document by which the appointment is confirmed is described as Letters Patent under the Great Seal. This impressive document is still prepared in the traditional way on vellum.
Mrs Sarah Rose Troughton is Her Majesty The Queen's representative in Wiltshire and took up the post of HM Lord-Lieutenant in February 2012. She lives in Wanborough near Swindon with her husband Peter and they have three children and nine grandchildren. She has held several voluntary positions both within and outside Wiltshire for a number of years and was particularly involved with the Community Foundation for Wiltshire and Swindon and Youth Action Wiltshire.
Mrs Troughton maintains a keen interest in all aspects of life within Wiltshire as a whole, including council services, commerce and industry, the Armed Forces, along with many voluntary, community and charity groups and organisations. She is greatly supported by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant Mr William Wyldbore-Smith and a loyal group of Deputy Lieutenants from all corners of the county.
A keen gardener, she was formerly Chairman of the Chelsea Physic Garden in London. She paints as a hobby and was previously Vice-Chairman of Patrons of British Art and on the Friends Council of the Tate Gallery.
Mr Peter Troughton is a member of the Salisbury Diocesan Finance Board, chairman of the Devizes Assize Court Trust and a trustee of the Rothschild Foundation. He recently retired as a trustee of the Royal Collection and as Pro-Chancellor of the University of Bath. Following eight years in HM Diplomatic Service, he had a career in both listed and public companies in commerce and the City. He was awarded a CBE in 2015 and a CVO in 2021. Peter enjoys walking up mountains in the summer and skiing down them in winter.
As Lord-Lieutenant Mrs Troughton's foremost duty representing HM The Queen in the county is to uphold the dignity of the Crown. The ceremonial aspect of the role is only one part.
Aside from royal duties, she also seeks to promote and foster the community, encouraging voluntary and charitable organisations, taking an active interest in commerce and industry, alongside the urban, rural and social life of the county.
The Lord-Lieutenant's role is essentially non-political.
The main duties of the Lord-Lieutenant may be summarised as follows:
- Participation in the civic, voluntary and social activities within the county
- Arranging visits by members of the Royal Family to the county, receiving and escorting them on the day of the visit
- Presenting honours and medals on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen
- Liaison with local units of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, Royal Air Force and their associated Cadet Forces
- Leadership of the local Magistracy as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Justices of the Peace (Magistrates)
Mrs Troughton is involved with a number of charities, appeals and trusts in the county, including:
- President of Community First/Youth Action Wiltshire
- President of the Wiltshire Branch of the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE)
- President of the ABF The Soldiers' Charity
- President of Friends of Wiltshire Historic Trust Churches (Members' arm of the Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust)
- Vice-President of Wiltshire Historic Churches Trust
- Honorary President of Wiltshire County Priory Group, Order of St. John
- Vice-President of Naomi House and jacksplace, Hospices for Children & Young People, Winchester
- Vice-President of Accommodation Welfare Trust
- Patron of the Friends of Salisbury Cathedral
- Patron of the Wiltshire Victoria County History Trust (WVCH)
- Patron of the Wessex Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre, Warminster
- Patron of the Community Foundation for Wiltshire and Swindon
- Parton of the Swindon Women's Aid
- Patron of Merchant's House, Marlborough
- Patron of the Wessex Medical Research (ex-officio role)
- Patron of Wiltshire Museum, Devizes
- President of the Wiltshire Branch of the Magistrates Association, Chair of Advisory Council
- Vice-President of Council at the Royal Bath and West of England Society
- County President of Wiltshire Scouts
Mr William Wyldbore-Smith was appointed Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Wiltshire in March 2019.
He lives near Calne with his wife, Prisca and they have one daughter, who lives in Ramsbury with her husband and two children. His professional career, as a solicitor, spanned 40 years, working in London, Bristol and Wiltshire. He retired in 2013 as the Head of Private Client with Thrings. During that period he was involved in several capacities in the voluntary sector, starting in the 1980's with the Enterprise Agency movement in Bristol, then in Wiltshire. He was a board member of the Wiltshire and Bath Health Authority from 1993-96 and became a trustee of Youth Action Wiltshire in 1996.
He was appointed Under-Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1987, retiring in 2005. In 2003 he became a Deputy Lieutenant.
For the year 2013-14 he served as the High Sheriff of Wiltshire and following on from that has held a number of positions in public life: since 2014 as a Founder Member and Chairman of Trustees of the Brunel SEN Multi-Academy Trust in Swindon, Trustee then Vice-Chairman of the Wiltshire Community Foundation 2014-2019, Trustee of the Marlborough College Foundation 2014-19, since 2012 Trustee of the Westcountry Rivers Trust. He is Patron or Vice-Patron/President of UET, Community First and Wiltshire Victoria History Trust, a trustee of local charities and currently a Churchwarden of the Church of St Martin, Bremhill.
In addition, there are around 30 Deputy Lieutenants appointed in Wiltshire.
- Mrs Nicola Alberry, DL
- Colonel James Arkell, TD, DL
- Mr Charles Bartholomew, DL
- Mrs Minette Batters, DL
- Mrs Helen Birchenough, DL
- Mrs Helen Browning, OBE, DL
- Mrs Amanda Burnside, DL
- District Judge Simon Cooper, DL
- Air Vice-Marshal David Couzens, DL
- Mr Piers Dibben DL
- Mr Alan Fletcher, DL
- Mr Robert Floyd, DL
- Mrs Claire Garrett, DL
- Mrs Ninna Gibson JP DL
- Lt. Gen. Sir Andrew Gregory, KBE, CB, DL
- Mr Deepak Gupta, DL
- Dr Philip Harding, DL
- Sir David Hempleman-Adams, KCVO, OBE, KStJ, DL
- Mr Michael Hodges, DL
- The Marchioness of Lansdowne, DL
- Ms Shirley Ludford, DL
- Mr Angus Macpherson, MBE, DL
- Mr Luke March, DL
- The Right Honourable Lord Margadale of Islay, DL
- Mrs Stephanie Millward, MBE, DL
- Dame Elizabeth Neville, DBE, QPM, DL
- Mrs Victoria Nye, DL
- Sir Michael Pitt, DL
- The Honourable Peter Pleydell-Bouverie, DL
- Mr David Scott, DL
- The Right Honourable The Lord Talbot of Malahide, DL
- Mr Sebastian Warrack, DL
- Mr Patrick Wintour, OBE, DL
All Deputy Lieutenants are entitled to use the post nominal letters of DL.
The age of retirement for all members of the Lieutenancy, including the Lord-Lieutenant and Vice Lord-Lieutenant, is 75 years.
Find out more about the Deputy Lieutenants
The Office of Lieutenant [original title] was created in Tudor times, is military in origin and is accepted to date from reign of Henry VIII [1600s]. There was no regular Army at the time so in times of threat and invasion the monarch had to have defensive forces raised. The Tudor Monarchs were well aware that disturbances could develop depriving them of their throne, so Noblemen were appointed [later called Lieutenants] who were required to assemble men creating Militia or armed forces. As most Lieutenants were Lords [unlike today], it was natural that they were known as Lord-Lieutenants.
There were no Lieutenants during the Commonwealth Protectorate after the execution of Charles I, but Charles II created the Militia Act of 1661 which made the office of Lieutenant permanent and gave him full power over the militia, creating more of a military officer, and particularly in time of political uncertainty he became key in the county. Indeed his commission gave him the right to call up men in his county, arm them, and give them permission to 'repress, subdue, slay and put to execution those enemies by all ways and means'.
The 19th century saw Lieutenants being appointed on the basis of being expected to support the government. As most were peers and members of House of Lords they had an impact on law-making. Before the establishment of County Councils in 1889, what we now regard as Local Government Services were administered in the counties by Magistrates who were led by the Lieutenants. From 1689 they were also appointed Custos Rotulorum or Keeper of the Rolls [records of Magistrates]. This title is still held by the Lord-Lieutenant today, as well as being Chairman of the Advisory Council for the appointment of Magistrates. As Chief Justice of the Peace and the controller of the militia, when there was no Police Force, the Lieutenant was central to the maintenance of order. These duties are now conducted through the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner.
In 1871 the militia ceased to be under the command of the Lieutenant and in 1921 the Lieutenants' duties under the Militia Acts ceased. However, the military connection in Wiltshire is still strong today with the significant presence in the county.
The Local Government Act 1972 gave official sanction to the designations Lord-Lieutenant and Vice Lord-Lieutenant. In 1974 Lavinia Duchess of Norfolk was appointed the first lady Lord-Lieutenant.
- William Herbert, 1st Earl of Pembroke 1551-17 March 1570
- Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke 1570 - 15 January 1601
- Edward Seymour, 1st Earl of Hertford 24 April 1601 - 6 April 1621
- William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke 14 April 1621 - 10 April 1630
- Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke 12 August 1630 - 1642
- William Seymour, 1st Marquess of Hertford 10 July 1660 - 24 October 1660
- Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton 21 February 1661 - 16 May 1667
- Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon 18 June 1667 - 2 April 1668
- Arthur Capell, 1st Earl of Essex 2 April 1668 - 22 August 1672
- John Seymour, 4th Duke of Somerset 22 August 1672 - 29 April 1675
- Philip Herbert, 7th Earl of Pembroke 20 May 1675 - 29 August 1683
- Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke 11 October 1683 - 22 January 1733 jointly with
- William Paston, 2nd Earl of Yarmouth 22 March 1688 - 16 May 1689
- Henry Herbert, 9th Earl of Pembroke 24 August 1733 - 9 January 1750
- Hon. Robert Sawyer Herbert 20 March 1750 - 3 April 1756
- Henry Herbert, 10th Earl of Pembroke 3 April 1756 - 22 March 1780
- Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, 1st Earl of Ailesbury 22 March 1780 - 8 April 1782
- Henry Herbert, 10th Earl of Pembroke 8 April 1782 - 26 January 1794
- George Herbert, 11th Earl of Pembroke 21 March 1794 - 26 October 1827
- Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne 23 November 1827 - 31 January 1863
- George Brudenell-Bruce, 2nd Marquess of Ailesbury 25 March 1863 - 6 January 1878
- Jacob Pleydell-Bouverie, 4th Earl of Radnor 18 March 1878 - 11 March 1889
- John Thynne, 4th Marquess of Bath 1 April 1889 - 20 April 1896
- Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne 1 June 1896 - 3 March 1920
- Walter Long, 1st Viscount Long 3 March 1920 - 26 September 1924
- Jacob Pleydell-Bouverie, 6th Earl of Radnor 22 December 1924 - 26 June 1930
- Sir Ernest Wills, 3rd Baronet 7 October 1930 - 4 May 1942
- Evelyn Seymour, 17th Duke of Somerset 4 May 1942 - 26 April 1954
- Sidney Herbert, 16th Earl of Pembroke 7 September 1954 - 16 March 1969
- John Morrison, 1st Baron Margadale 26 August 1969 - 17 December 1981
- Sir Hugh Trefusis Brassey 17 December 1981 - 15 December 1989
- Field Marshal Sir Roland Gibbs 15 December 1989 - 5 July 1996
- Lt-General Sir Maurice Johnston 5 July 1996 - 10 November 2004
- John Barnard Bush 10 November 2004 - 5 February 2012
- Sarah Rose Troughton 5 February 2012 - present
There is no prescribed uniform for a female Lord-Lieutenant, but there is a badge encompassing a Tudor Rose which is worn on ceremonial occasions and official functions.
The uniform of a male Lord-Lieutenant follows the style of an Army No. 1 dress. It is made from a dark blue barathea material with a red stripe on the trousers. In England Lord-Lieutenants have a cap badge and buttons bearing a Crown above a Tudor Rose. The ceremonial uniform includes a sword with a steel scabbard.
The uniform for a male Vice Lord-Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenant is of a similar style but has features to distinguish it from that of a Lord-Lieutenant. Deputy Lieutenants may wear a badge when undertaking official duties on behalf of the Lord-Lieutenant.
Lord Lieutenant's Cadets
Lord Lieutenant's Cadets are appointed annually in October. They are nominated by the Sea Cadets Corps, the Army Cadet Force and the Air Training Corps for their outstanding contribution to their respective Cadet Units.
The Cadets support the Lord-Lieutenant on special occasions such as Royal visits, Remembrance Services and ceremonial occasions.
Lord Lieutenant Cadets 2020-2021:
- Cadet Warant Officer Charlotte Smith (RAF Air Cadets)
- Colour Serjeant Matt Hodgson (Army Cadet Force)
- Corporal Ellie Hendricks (Army Cadet Force)
- Cadet Flight Sergeant Saffron Sharpe (RAF Air Cadets)
The flag which is occasionally used by the Lord-Lieutenant is correctly described as a "Union Flag charged with a sword fesswise and ensigned with the Imperial Crown proper". The flag is not used by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant or Deputy Lieutenants.
The Lord-Lieutenant may appoint a person of standing and integrity to be Clerk to the Lieutenancy. For many years this role has been carried out by the chief executive or senior official of a county council.
The current Clerk to the Lieutenancy in Wiltshire (including the Borough of Swindon) is Mr Perry Holmes, Wiltshire Council, Director Legal and Governance and Monitoring Officer.
The detailed and day-to-day work associated with the Lieutenancy is undertaken by two Lieutenancy Officers, Mrs Rachel Weeks and Mr Paul Mountford.
The duties of the Clerk and Lieutenancy Officers may be summarised as follows:
- Undertaking all the necessary administrative support in connection with the functions of the Lieutenancy, including arrangements for Royal Visits, ceremonial duties, honours and presentations made by the Lord-Lieutenant on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen
- Providing daily support to the Lord-Lieutenant in relation to all correspondence and engagements
- Publishing in the London Gazette and other media, as required, the names and date of commission of newly appointed Vice Lord-Lieutenant and Deputy Lieutenants, and preparing those commissions
The contact details for the Lieutenancy Office are:
Telephone: 01225 713103 / 01225 718008
It is possible for any person to nominate someone for a UK National Honour.
As will be seen, letters of support may be sent with the nomination form. These should be obtained from others who can endorse the nominee's service and contribution. It is not appropriate to seek a letter of support from the Lord-Lieutenant who is consulted later in the process.
The Lieutenancy Office will also be happy to provide advice and assistance:
Telephone: 01225 713103
Honours are given to people from all walks of life and from all sections of society who have made a difference to their community. The number of honours awarded is strictly limited and not all will receive recognition, despite their valuable service to others. It is important that the nominee should still be active in their service for which they are nominated. There are no deadlines for the receipt of nomination forms but it generally takes at least 18-24 months for the nomination to be considered.
Honours lists are published at New Year and on the occasion of Her Majesty The Queen's birthday. Lists are published in the national newspapers and nominators will need to check if their nominee is successful - no separate notification is sent.
After two years if the nomination has not been successful, it may be assumed that it has lapsed. The nomination may be resubmitted but will need to be strengthened by additional achievements or is unlikely to be successful.
All nominations for honours are treated in strict confidence. Nominees should not be informed that they have been nominated so as not to raise expectations.
British Empire Medals are presented by the Lord-Lieutenant at a special annual ceremony in the county.
The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the United Kingdom to recognise and reward excellence. It is equivalent in status to the MBE. This Award is awarded annually by HM The Queen and is presented locally by the Lord-Lieutenant or one of her Deputy Lieutenants.
Any group of 2 or more people doing voluntary work that provides a social, economic or environmental service to the local community can be nominated for the award. This can be by beneficiaries of their work, members of the public or representatives of public bodies or other voluntary groups. The majority of the group must be volunteers, and more than half the volunteers must have the right to live in the UK.
To be nominated the group should have been running for a minimum of three years and be involved in work that:
- provides a service and meets a need for people living in the local community
- is supported, recognised and respected by the local community and the people who benefit from it
- is run locally
Nominations need to be submitted by the deadline in September and require supporting letters from two independent people. The nominations are then considered by a local Assessment Panel, before being passed on to a national committee for final selection and recommendation to Her Majesty The Queen for her approval. Winning groups receive a certificate signed by The Queen and a commemorative piece of crystal for display at the group's main place of operation.
Details of winners are announced annually on 2 June (the anniversary of The Queen's Coronation).
Find out more information about The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service and complete the application form.
The Queen's Awards for Enterprise are prestigious awards for outstanding achievement by UK businesses. They are awarded annually by Her Majesty The Queen and presented locally by the Lord-Lieutenant or one of her Deputy Lieutenants. They are judged to a demanding level and are only given for the highest levels of excellence. Winners receive a number of benefits and worldwide recognition. Applications must be submitted in line with the stated period (May-early September) and the winners are announced on 21 April the following year.
There are four categories:
- International Trade
- Sustainable Development
- Promoting opportunity through social mobility
To enter, a business must:
- be based in the UK - including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man
- file its Company Tax returns with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- be a self-contained enterprise which markets its own products or services
- be under its own management
- have at least two full-time employees or part-time equivalents
- demonstrate strong corporate social responsibility
Businesses can enter more than one award category as long as they meet the criteria and there is no entry fee. The award lasts for five years and the criteria are as follows:
You must be able to show that your business has achieved substantial growth in overseas earnings and in commercial success for your business size and sector. You should be able to show either:
- outstanding achievement in international trade over 3 years
- continuous achievement in international trade over 6 years
You must be able to show that your business has substantially improved in areas of performance and commercial success. You should be able to show either:
- outstanding innovation, continued over at least 2 years
- continuous innovation and development over at least 5 years
Achievements are assessed for:
- invention, design or production
- performance of services and products
- marketing and distribution
- after-sale support of goods or services
Sustainable development is any activity which 'ensures a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come'. You should be able to show either:
- outstanding advance in sustainable development over at least 2 years
- continuous achievement in sustainable development over 5 years
Achievements must be in either:
- invention, design, production, performance, marketing, distribution, after sales support of goods or services
- management of resources or people, or of relationships with other organisations (or their representatives)
Promoting opportunity through social mobility
In promoting opportunity through social mobility you should be able to show:
- a social mobility programme running for more than 2 years
- evidence of the programme's benefits, to for example, your organisation and employees
Your improvements should help socially disadvantaged individuals or groups in one of the following areas:
- work experience, careers, advice or mentoring for young people
- offering non-graduate routes such as traineeships or changing recruitment practices
- giving equal support and progression opportunities to all employees
Each category has a separate Judging Panel which makes recommendations to the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee. The Committee makes final recommendations to Her Majesty The Queen, who decides the winners. The Lord-Lieutenant presents the Grant of Appointment and an engraved crystal bowl to companies attaining the award, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. Companies will also receive an invitation to attend a Royal reception at Buckingham Palace.
Find out more about The Queen's Award for Enterprise and complete the online application form.
The Elizabeth Cross was created in 2009 to provide national recognition for the families of Armed Forces Personnel who have died on operations or as a result of an act of terrorism, since the end of the Second World War to the present day.
The death of any service person, whatever the circumstances, is a tragic loss to his or her family and to the Armed Forces as a whole, but the Elizabeth Cross was instituted specifically to recognise the unique challenges that service personnel face on operations and from terrorism, and the particular burden this places on Service families.
The Elizabeth Cross and Memorial Scroll are granted to the next of kin of UK Armed Forces personnel in national recognition of their loss and sacrifice and are presented to them locally by the Lord-Lieutenant.
This is the first time the name of a reigning monarch has been given to a new award since the George Cross was instituted in 1940 by The Queen's father, King George VI, for acts of bravery by both civilians and the military. Prior to this, the Victoria Cross was introduced by Queen Victoria in 1856 for acts of gallantry by the Armed Forces.
The Elizabeth Cross is made of hallmarked silver and is in the form of a cross with a laurel wreath passing between the arms. The arms of the Cross bear floral symbols representing England (Rose), Scotland (Thistle), Ireland (Shamrock) and Wales (Daffodil). The centre of the cross bears the crowned Cypher of Her Majesty The Queen. The reverse of the cross is engraved with the name of the Service person in whose memory it is granted.
Since 1917, The Sovereign has sent congratulatory messages to those celebrating their 100th and 105th birthdays and every birthday thereafter, and to those celebrating their Diamond Wedding (60th), 65th, 70th wedding anniversaries and every year thereafter.
The Queen's congratulatory messages consist of a card containing a personalised message. The card is sent in a special envelope, which is delivered through the normal postal channels.
The delivery of these messages is arranged by the Anniversaries Office, part of the Private Secretary's Office in the Royal Household, based at Buckingham Palace. Apply for a congratulatory messagepreferably by a relative or friend three weeks before the celebration date.
The links provided above will give guidance and an online application form will need to be completed. A good scanned copy, photograph or photocopy of the celebrant's birth or marriage certificate will be required to be either uploaded or sent in the post.
The Lord-Lieutenant would also welcome the opportunity to mark these special occasions by sending a congratulatory message to Wiltshire residents. To request a message, please email email@example.com.
It is the duty of the Lord-Lieutenant to meet and attend Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family when visiting the county, or one of her Deputy Lieutenants if she is unable to be present.
Visits by members of the Royal Family originate in many ways:
- invitations received by the Lord-Lieutenant and submitted to a specific Royal Household
- invitations extended by individuals, organisations and companies to open buildings, launch projects, commemorate anniversaries, etc.
- invitations extended by national bodies, e.g. headquarters of charities of which a member of the Royal Family is a Patron or organisations of which a member of the Royal Family is President, etc.
- requests made by Royal Households to Lord-Lieutenants for an additional venue to add to a planned visit programme
For all Royal visit requests, the Lord-Lieutenant should be consulted via the Lieutenancy Office at County Hall. It is requested that you complete the providing a brief outline of the event and likely duration, the period during which the visit is desired and whether a visit by any particular member of the Royal Family is desired, providing the reason or justification for this request. It needs to be borne in mind that such are the demands made upon the Royal Family that the number of invitations far outweighs those which can be accepted and so there can be no guarantee that a particular invitation will be successful.
If an invitation is accepted, the Lord-Lieutenant and Lieutenancy Office take the lead in coordinating arrangements for the visit. This is done through the Lieutenancy Office and organisations are directed to the Lieutenancy Officer for advice and support.
The contact details for the Lieutenancy Office are:
Telephone: 01225 713103 or 01225 718008
Garden parties have been held at Buckingham Palace since the 1860s, when Queen Victoria instituted what were known as 'breakfasts' (though they took place in the afternoon). In the 1950s the number of garden parties held at Buckingham Palace was increased from two to three a year. They took the place of presentation parties attended by debutantes, but have evolved into a way of rewarding and recognising public service.
Every summer, Her Majesty The Queen hosts a number of Royal Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace. Around 30,000 people attend each year from all walks of life.
The Lord-Lieutenant is able to nominate a small number of Wiltshire residents each year to attend a Royal Garden Party. These residents have usually made a major contribution to their local communities, or have provided exceptional service in another way and are therefore deserving of recognition for their service to others. Requests often exceed the number of places available and so there is no guarantee that nominated individuals will always be successful in being nominated to attend. If you know of a Wiltshire resident who you feel is worthy of an invitation, please write to the Lieutenancy Office providing the name and address of the nominee, together with reasons for the request.
For over 600 years Magistrates (also known as Justices of the Peace) have been the cornerstone of the Criminal Justice system. They are volunteer members of the local community who come from a range of background and are appointed by the Lord Chancellor to sit and decide on cases in the criminal court for both adults and young people, as well as the Family Court.
Magistrates sit in benches of three, including two wingers and one who sits in the centre who has received special training to act as chair, known as the Presiding Justice. All three magistrates contribute equally to the decision-making but the Presiding Justice speaks on their behalf in court. Magistrates are assisted by a Legal Adviser (a qualified Solicitor or Barrister) who is there to advise on points of law, practice and procedure.
You can apply to be an adult Criminal Court magistrate or Family Court magistrate. You must be between 18 and 65 and be able to commit to a minimum of 13 days (26 half days) a year plus additional time for training.
Certain allowances are available to cover travelling expenses and subsistence.
More about the work of magistrates in adult criminal court, youth court and the family court can be found online.
What qualifications are needed?
No formal or legal qualifications are required but candidates will need to demonstrate the key qualities of good character; commitment and reliability; social awareness; understanding and communication; sound judgement and maturity and sound temperament.
Newly appointed magistrates will be expected to undertake four days of training before they can commence sitting. They will also be appointed a mentor to support and help with any queries and training needs. After that, there will be a further one or two days training every year.
How do I apply?
If you are interested in becoming a magistrate, you can find more information and apply at GOV.UK: Become a magistrate.
Information about when we are recruiting for new magistrates can be found online.
If you want to talk to someone about the role, email: SW-Advisory@justice.gov.uk
Additional information about the work of magistrates can be found at: