UK’s Youngest Magistrate


Shopping for shoes, watching TV and reading are Lucy Tate hobbies. On the Friends Reunited website, Miss Tate, who is studying a law degree at Leeds University, gives an intriguing insight into her tastes and lifestyle. Her profile includes a photograph of her favourite shoes and matching handbag, which are covered in pink sequins. And now, she has become Britain’s youngest magistrate at the age of 19.

But the appointment of Lucy Tate has attracted criticism from other magistrates who claim her youth and lack of experience make her ill-equipped for the job. Some people believe that she is too young for the job.

Miss Tate was recruited after a £4 million government advertising campaign two years ago to recruit more young people and ethnic minority candidates to the bench.

Magistrates without legal qualifications deal mainly with minor criminal offences and some family cases – the minimum age was reduced from 27 to 18 in 2004. Previously, the youngest magistrate was a 20-year-old man from Sussex, appointed last year.

Sue Vogan, chair of the committee responsible for recruiting magistrate in Pontefract, said that The committee was very impressed with her personal maturity and judgment. A spokeswoman for the Department for Constitutional Affairs said that she was definitely the youngest that has been appointed and she had to go through a rigorous selection process that involved the local advisory committee.

As the matter of fact, while some countries campaign to recruit more young people to the bench, but my beloved country, Indonesia, still preserve the old “grandfather” magistrates. Even our Hon’ble Chief Justice of Supreme Court, Bagir Manan, extend his position with his own queer decision. Could you imagine how “good” our leader gives an example for us?

For me, life experience isn’t an absolute requirement to be a magistrate. First of all, magistrates sit in benches of three so she or he is hardly making the decision herself. Also magistrates undergo significant training prior to being allowed to sit.

I think it’s a good idea to broaden the age of people dispensing justice, especially in Indonesia. Or perhaps we would still rather have more 60 year old magistrates from privileged backgrounds with colonial views and corrupt minds?

See Also: How to Become a Magistrate

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