The Magistrates’ Association has announced the appointment of a new national leadership team that will take up post on 15 October 2022. The only membership body for magistrates in England and Wales has elected Mark Beattie JP FBCS as national chair, alongside deputy chairs David Ford JP and Jacqui MacDonald-Davis JP, who is believed to be the first Black national deputy chair of the organisation.
The new leadership team brings a range of experience, diversity and skills, and will help drive
forward the organisation’s transformation that was started under the incumbent national chair, Bev
Higgs JP. Under her leadership, the Magistrates’ Association has had many achievements and policy
wins, most notably the raising of magistrates’ retirement age, the increase in magistrates’
sentencing powers, and the launch of the largest ever recruitment campaign for more magistrates –
all of which the organisation has strongly advocated for over the past few years.
Speaking about his new position, Mark Beattie JP FBCS said:
“I’m honoured that I will be stepping into the role of national chair at this momentous time. We’ve
got some impending big issues, not least the abolition of local justice areas in 2023, and the debate
about what should replace them. We will be speaking up for magistrates and working to make sure
members’ voices are heard. Another priority for me is ensuring that it doesn’t cost to volunteer as a
magistrate – we’ll publish a report this autumn with more than a dozen recommendations for the
“I also want to focus on the need for better recognition of the valuable work of magistrates and on
the services that our members want to help them become the best magistrates they can be. I very
much look forward to working with members across England and Wales.”
Mark Beattie JP FBCS has been a magistrate for 16 years and sits as court chair in both adult and
youth courts on the North London bench. He joined the Magistrates’ Association’s board of
trustees in May 2017 and has been deputy chair for the past two years. Previously, he chaired
the Magistrates’ Association’s training, learning and development committee and the London
magistrates’ area training committee. He also served three years as bench chair for North London.
The appointment of Jacqui MacDonald-Davis JP, believed to be the Magistrates’ Association’s first
Black deputy chair, signals progress in terms of diversity and inclusion in the organisation and the
magistracy more broadly.
Reacting to her appointment, Jacqui said:
“I feel humbled and honoured, in equal measure, to take up such a position. Although the
magistracy is the most diverse part of the judiciary, there’s still much room for progress. Anyone
seeking justice should feel that courts are accessible to them, so the judiciary should reflect the
communities it serves.”
“As a deputy chair, I want to work even more closely with the Magistrates’ Association’s diversity
and inclusion networks to recruit and retain more people from all under-represented groups,
including those with a disability, and those from the LGBT+ community and different ethnic,
religious, age and socioeconomic groups.”
Jacqui became a magistrate in 2005 and is deputy chair of the Central London bench. She has been a member of the Magistrates’ Association’s board of trustees for three years, is chair of its Black, Asian and minority ethnic network and deputy chair of its training, learning and development committee.
David Ford JP was appointed as a magistrate in 1994 and sits as a presiding justice in both adult and
youth courts, on the Mid and South Glamorgan bench. He first joined the Magistrates’ Association’s
board of trustees in 2018 and sits on its youth court committee. He was elected youth panel chair of
the Cardiff bench in 2009-2010.
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