BRITISH Airways worker Baljit Singh Rihal has just been sworn in as Uxbridge's newest magistrate.
"It's an honour and tremendous privilege to have been appointed a magistrate and to serve Her Majesty's Court Services," said Mr Rihal, 34, who works as a software engineer in the Waterside IT department.
"I am a proud member of the Sikh community and hope my representation on the bench can demonstrate the diversity that the judiciary is trying to encourage."
The airport worker will now spend his free time handing down judgements in Uxbridge Magistrates' Court, where he hopes he can help make the local community a safer place.
"It is a great responsibility having the power to potentially send someone to prison," said Mr Rihal, who has worked at Heathrow for eight years.
"But it is also a great way of helping ensure that an individual has access to rehabilitation courses, so that the public can enjoy a safe environment."
To earn his new position, the economics graduate had to go through two extensive interviews, stringent background checks and finally impress the Lord Chancellor himself.
After being sworn in, the Heston resident will now begin an intensive training course in the law, including some prison visits.
Mr Rihal said he first thought of volunteering for the courts five years ago, but had held off until now to make sure he knew exactly what he was letting himself in for.
"I also wanted to make sure that visible, turban-wearing Sikhs were represented in the court system hierarchy."
After shadowing a JP in Richmond
for six months, Mr Rihal was hooked.
"I gained a tremendous insight into the work of courts and decided that this was something I would enjoy doing.
"It's a great way to dedicate some time to help the community."
Mr Rihal was sworn in at a ceremony at the Inner London Crown Court last month, in an event he describes as extremely formal and grand.
"I took my wife and father along as guests. They were both very proud," said Mr Rihal.
"My entire family has been very encouraging throughout the process.
"The judiciary belongs to us, and it works better when we are involved. Therefore I encourage people to apply and to make a real difference.
"We need to break down the barriers of people just thinking that magistrates are only retired and white.
"More ethnic minorities need to apply, more people who are working need to apply and people of different ages."