Manchester Met awarded employer of the year by the Magistrates Association

  • Award to university from Magistrates Association in recognition of support for staff being able to work part-time as magistrates

Manchester Metropolitan University has been presented with a national award by the Magistrates Association for its contribution as an employer to the work of the courts. 

The Association’s Employer of the Year award was made to Professor Sharon Handley, former pro-vice chancellor of arts and humanities and now pro-vice chancellor for culture and community, and to Dr Derek Bousfield, head of the department of languages, information and communications

Lecturers Karl McLaughlin and Samuel Larner are both part-time magistrates in Greater Manchester and Lancashire, respectively, and fit their work on the bench around their teaching and other university commitments.

The university allocates time to staff to enable them to take part in citizenship activities, such as being a magistrate.

The award from the Magistrates Association, won last year by Lloyds Bank, recognises this support as an employer.

Dr Bousfield said the support meant that appropriate paid time allocation is included in staff workloads each year. 


As a magistrate, Karl is able to bring his experiences into his teaching of interpreting and also media law classes with journalism students, while also helping raise awareness of magistracy recruitment campaigns. 

For his part, Samuel can apply his court experience in his specialist field of forensic linguistics at the university.

Dr Bousfield said: “Given that the department continues to give to the community and our staff feed their experiences into teaching, everyone wins: students benefit, employees benefit, as does the Magistrates Association.” 

Karl added: “Our role is to deal with offences that come before the courts and, hopefully also, put people back onto a better course of life.

“The work is very rewarding and gives us insight into the community. It is a role that carries great responsibility.” 

Manchester Met was presented the national award by Gwynneth Bellman JP, from the Magistrates Association.

She said she was “delighted to give the award in recognition of the ongoing work that the university has undertaken with the Association since 2019.” 

The Magistrates Association is looking to encourage applicants from more diverse backgrounds and age groups currently underrepresented in the magistracy as a whole.