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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.

Monitoring welfare and access to justice

Lay Observers are independent members of the public who are appointed by the Secretary of State to monitor those held in court custody. We report on whether the individuals held are being treated with decency and respect and whether their welfare is being looked after.

How Lay Observers make a difference

Volunteer to make a difference

Interested in volunteering?

Our volunteers do an incredible job and you could too.

Find out more about volunteering as a Lay Observer

Gain valuable skills and experience

Whether you’re studying, in employment, retired or thinking about returning to work, develop transferable skills in a unique environment.

How volunteering benefits you

Current vacancies

Check to see if we are currently recruiting.

See our current vacancies

Who we are and what we do?

  • We are ordinary members of the public
  • We are independent public appointees
  • We make an average of 2 to 3 visits a month to different courts
  • We observe the treatment of detained people in court custody and during transportation between prison and court
  • We have unrestricted access to the facilities we monitor
  • We have confidential conversations with people who are detained

Lay Observers members site

If you are already a Lay Observer, you will be able to access expenses forms, monitoring guidance, and much more.

LO members site