A unique and rewarding experience

Being a Lay Observer can be challenging, rewarding, and fascinating. As well as the opportunity to participate in a unique part of the justice system, you will have the opportunity to meet and work with people from many diverse backgrounds and walks of life.

Develop key personal skills

As a Lay Observer, you will have an opportunity to develop a wide range of personal skills such as decision-making, inter-personal skills and team-working, which can benefit your career and your employer. All whilst making a positive contribution to ensuring that detained people are treated fairly and with respect.

Gain a working knowledge of the Criminal Justice System

As a Lay Observer, you will gain a unique perspective of the justice system. Training is provided to ensure that new Lay Observers gain the knowledge and understanding needed to carry out the role effectively. You will be invited to attend initial and ongoing training courses and will also receive on-the-job training by experienced members.

Ministerial appointment

All Lay Observers are appointed by the Secretary of State for Justice and serving as a Lay Observer is recognised as a public duty – employers are obliged to allow employees “reasonable” time off from their employment to perform their duties but they are not obliged to pay employees for this.