The committee will draw up a recommended list of candidates who are suitable for appointment and send that list to the Lord Chief Justice, the most senior judge in the country, for consideration. The Lord Chief Justice will make the final choice of who is selected once DBS checks have been completed.

All members, both magistrate and lay, go through a rigorous selection process to ensure that they have the requisite skills to carry out the various aspects of the committee’s work.

Having a legal background, Tracy Barr put herself forward because she was passionate about the need to select suitably skilled individuals, having seen how well justice could be administered by able, socially aware magistrates trained to carry out the role.

All lay members of the Cheshire committee have substantial work place experience of these skills, yet they all speak enthusiastically about the excellent training they received to recruit for a role where there is no job description.

Advisory committees have other responsibilities beyond recruitment and selection. They have to ensure that magistrates honour their commitment to meet sitting, training and competence requirements, as well the standards of behaviour expected from those holding public office.

Fortunately, there are very few complaints against magistrates in Cheshire but on those rare occasions, the advisory committee has to be equipped to deal with them in a professional manner.

Without exception, the lay members in Cheshire get great satisfaction from their involvement on the committee and the valuable part they play as volunteers in the local criminal justice system. The time commitment isn’t onerous – 4 meetings per year and as many days as someone can offer for interviews during a recruitment period.

The Cheshire committee is looking to appoint one new lay member and is now recruiting. If you think it might interest you and you have the sort of skills required, please contact Pauline Johnson on 0151 471 1079 or e:mail cm-jcsupport@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk for an application pack.

A limit of 12 applications will be accepted, and interviews will be held at the QEII Courts in Liverpool in the New Year.