Family Courts in Cumbria are in dire need of magistrates, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The Government department has sounded a call to encourage applications to be made for the dozens of vacancies available at the county’s courts in Carlisle and Workington.

The Family Court, which deals with a variety of cases relating to children, child protection, plus family breakdown and related issues, are looking for people with two key skills - common sense and compassion.

Family justice Dr Anne Jackson said: “Family work is increasing very rapidly.

“There’s a great shortage of family magistrates so what we are doing is rolling out direct entry into the family panel.

“It’s sad, it’s very sad because you are dealing with children who are in need of support.

“Normally you do a certain amount of time at a criminal magistrates court then you are allowed to move on but this is an new initiative.

“I would say that people would find it extremely fulfilling. I think they would go away from a session feeling that they had made a difference to a child’s life.”

Dr Jackson is encouraging anyone thinking of applying to do so.

“It’s 13 days a year, so it’s not a huge commitment and you meet some incredibly interesting people and families.

“It’s a very, very worthwhile form of voluntary work.”

To apply, visit