Search Legislation

Courts Act 2003

Lay Justices

Section 11: Resignation and removal of lay justicesSection 12: The supplemental listSection 13: Entry of names in the supplemental listSection 14: Removal of names from the supplemental list

52.These sections replace sections 7 to 9, of the JPA 1997, together with the provision in section 5 relating to the removal of lay justices from office.  They provide that a lay justice may resign, set out the  grounds on which justices may  be removed from office, and re-enact (with some changes) the provision that lay justices shall be entered onto a supplemental list on reaching the age of 70, and thereafter cease to exercise office as justices.

53.Section 11 provides for the removal of justices from office specifying that they may be removed on the grounds of misbehaviour, incapacity, neglect of duty and persistent failure to meet prescribed competences.  (There are currently competences laid down for lay magistrates, against which they are appraised, and it is envisaged that these competences will be formalised by direction.) At present there is no statutory restriction on the grounds on which they may be removed.

54.The function of the supplemental list under these sections is different from its functions under the JPA 1997: it has lost its disciplinary function, and is now intended to be simply a recognition of the service given by lay magistrates.  For that reason it is no longer specified that the Lord Chancellor may place justices on the List on the ground of neglect of duty – this is now a ground for removal under section 11.  The ability, however, for justices to be entered in  the list after long service, even if they have not reached the age of 70, has been retained under section 13(4).

55.Additionally, these sections no longer provide statutory authority for supplemental list justices to perform certain acts (such as the signing of passport photographs), as the majority of the acts specified no longer require statutory authority.  The sections also remove the provision that a retired lay magistrate may still act as a judge in the Crown Court (if authorised) until the age of 72.

56.Where a justice is in the middle of hearing a case, or still serving as bench chair, on reaching 70, his name need not go on the list until the end of the case or of his term as chair.

57.A further effect of the repeal of the JPA 1997, and the provision of this section, is to transfer the current responsibilities of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, in respect of the supplemental list within the Duchy, to the Lord Chancellor.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources