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Courts Act 2003

District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts)

Section 23: Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate)

72.This section replaces section 10A(2) of the JPA 1997 (as amended by the AJA 1999) which deals with the appointment of a Senior District Judge and a Deputy Senior District Judge.

73.The section allows the Lord Chancellor to appoint one of the District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts) to be the Senior District Judge, and if the Lord Chancellor decides to do this, he may appoint another District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) to be his or her deputy.  The main function of the Senior District Judge is judicial administration.

74.This section differs from the current legislation in that the Lord Chancellor will have a discretion, rather than a duty, to appoint a Senior District Judge (Chief Magistrate) and Deputy.  This is because the Government has accepted the Auld Review's recommendation that, the role of the Senior District Judge should be reviewed, both as to its functions and its necessity.  However, it is envisaged that in the short term at least the Senior District Judge will continue to play an important role in the management of the District Judges (Magistrates' Courts).

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