Lay Observers are independent, unpaid public appointees and work an average of 2-3 days per month. Their role is to provide independent oversight of how people detained in court cells and cellular vehicles are cared for and their access to justice.

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About us

Lay Observers play an important role in the justice system by monitoring the welfare and access to justice of people being brought to court and held in court custody. They are appointed by the Secretary of State under the Criminal Justice Act 1991 (CJA1991) to provide independent oversight of how people detained in court cells and cellular vehicles are cared for and their access to justice.

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Latest news

  • Recruitment campaign for Lay Observers now closed

    Our recruitment campaign for new Lay Observers has now closed. Should you wish to be put on the vacancy alert list, please send an email to: layobservers@justice.gsi.gov.uk stating you would like to be placed on the vacancy alert list.

  • Chair of Lay Observers publishes Annual Report for 2015/16

    Repeated communication failures and inconsistent medical support are causing risks to the health of detainees in court custody and their ability to communicate their defence adequately says Tony FitzSimons Chair of the Prisoner Escort and Custody Services Lay Observers in his annual report to the Secretary of State for Justice. In the report he urges … Read more >

  • Our website

    Welcome to the Lay Observers website. We hope you find the information here both helpful and informative. We also hope this site will encourage you to find out more about the organisation & consider becoming a new member, to undertake this interesting, challenging and important work.

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