Explanatory Memorandum

Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2015

2015 CHAPTER 9

24 July 2015

Commentary on Sections

Part 1: Single Jurisdiction for County Courts and Magistrates’ Courts

Section 4: Lay magistrates

This section re-enacts section 9 of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002, with amendments so that a lay magistrate will have jurisdiction throughout Northern Ireland, and will be appointed to an administrative court division.

The section also provides that a lay magistrate shall sit in accordance with directions issued by the Lord Chief Justice, and that in issuing such directions, the Lord Chief Justice shall have regard to the desirability of lay magistrates sitting in courts reasonably close to where they live or work.

Finally, the section confers a power on the Department, after consultation with the Lord Chief Justice to make further provision regarding eligibility for appointment as a lay magistrate which may include provision that may require a person to live or work in or within a specified distance of the administrative court division to which they are to be appointed.