The role of a Lay Observer is an unpaid public appointment, made by Ministers. It is rewarding and fulfilling, making an important and unique contribution to the justice system.

We are looking for people aged over 18 from a range of backgrounds and communities to join us. We are particularly keen to hear from younger people, those of working age and individuals from black and minority ethnic communities since these groups are currently under-represented.

Essential criteria

You do not need any special qualifications or experience because we will provide all necessary training and support during a 6 month probation period. You do need to be enthusiastic and open minded, a natural communicator and possess sound, objective judgment. As long as you are 18 years or over, your background can be as a student, a person of working age or retired. There currently is no upper age limit, though you must be able to carry out the necessary duties.

Time Requirements

Becoming a Lay Observer is a demanding commitment and you will need to be available for 2 to 3 visits per month to fulfil the role. However, this may vary depending on circumstances, and each individual vacancy notice will specify the average time commitment per month for the individual  recruitment campaign.  Some flexibility around when you carry out Lay Observer duties may be available but this will depend on the needs of the organisation and the individual.  However, it is possible that at least some of the input may need to be carried out during normal working hours. Further information will be provided at interview.

Additional Information

Serving as a Lay Observer is recognised as a public duty and employers are obliged to allow employees ‘reasonable’ time off from their employment to perform their duties as a Lay Observer. Employers may pay staff for this time off but they don’t have to. Reasonable expenses are reimbursed.

The training you receive and the experience you gain in the role will also enable you to develop skills that could benefit you professionally and in other aspects of your life. You will also gain the satisfaction of knowing that you are making a positive difference in your community.