CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

JUSTICE – MAGISTRATES AND COURT BACKLOGS (2) [65895] – 27 June 2020

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to his oral contribution of 9 June 2020, Official Record, column 150, to the hon. Member for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, on retirement ages for magistrates, what form will the proposed consultation take; when that consultation will (a) open and (b) close; what degree of urgency will be applied in the light of the backlog of cases resulting from the effects on the court system of the covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make it his policy temporarily to suspend the existing retirement age for (i) magistrates and (ii) the wider judiciary, in order to process that backlog in a timely manner.  [65895]

[Due for Answer on 2 July.] 

ANSWER

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Chris Philp): We will be issuing a public consultation on proposals to raise the mandatory retirement age for most judicial office holders, including magistrates in the near future.

Many judges can already be authorised to sit past the mandatory retirement age but this provision does not exist for magistrates. Primary legislation would be required to amend the mandatory retirement age or to enable magistrates to temporarily sit beyond the existing mandatory retirement age.