Figures released by charity show total number of magistrates dropped from 23,997 in January last year to 22,160 last month
According to the charity 56 per cent of magistrates are over 60, compared to 32 per cent in 1999
The number of magistrates in England and Wales fell by over 1,800 last year, according to new figures.
There are now 7,110 fewer magistrates than in 2009, and they are older and less representative of ethnic minority communities than in 1999.
Figures released by the Judicial Office to Transform Justice, a charity campaigning for fair and effective justice, show that the total number of magistrates dropped from 23,997 in January last year to 22,160 last month, which is a reduction of 1,837.
Some 990 retired last year, while 919 resigned. Just 300 new magistrates were appointed.
Penelope Gibbs, Transform Justice director, said: “If the number of magistrates continues to shrink as rapidly as it has done recently, numbers will very soon dip below 20,000 and recruitment will grind to a halt.
“Courtrooms where every magistrate on the bench is over 60 will become common. If magistrates are to remain representatives of the people, radical steps need to be taken to increase recruitment, and to attract younger and more diverse candidates.”
According to the charity 56 per cent of magistrates are over 60, compared to 32 per cent in 1999.
Meanwhile the deficit between the number of ethnic minorities who are magistrates compared to their proportion of the total population has increased, from 2% in 1999 to 6% now.
Number of magistrates down by 1,800
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