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Access to Justice Act 1999

Constitution and funding of MCCs

251.Each MCC comprises up to 12 members and is composed primarily of lay magistrates, appointed by their peers, who undertake the task in addition to their magisterial duties. Individuals are appointed to the MCC on the basis of their skills and experience. Where an MCC believes that additional skills are required which cannot be found amongst the applicants for membership of the MCC, they may co-opt individuals who need not be magistrates. Currently the number of co-options is limited to two. These may be in addition to the maximum membership of twelve. In addition, the Lord Chancellor may appoint up to two individuals to an MCC. Neither lay magistrates nor co-opted and appointed non-magistrates receive remuneration for their committee work. The Act removes the limit on the number of co-opted and appointed members, and provides power for MCCs to remunerate those members.

252.Local authorities are responsible for providing the accommodation that an MCC requires for the magistrates’ courts in its area and for paying the expenses the MCC incurs. Local authorities recoup up to 80% of the net cost from the Lord Chancellor’s Department in the form of specific grant. In cases where an MCC area encompasses two or more authorities, the costs and accommodation are divided between the authorities, but a “lead” authority is appointed to receive the grant and pay the expenses.

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