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Lay Personnel Essay

P4- Describe the Role of Lay People in Criminal Cases Essay

1362 WordsJan 3rd, 20136 Pages

P4- describe the role of lay people in criminal cases
D1- evaluate the effectiveness of lay people in English courts


Lay people are people who don’t get paid and who are not qualified; they are volunteer’s, lay people in the law are the magistrate and the jury and I will be explaining their role and the advantages and disadvantages of having lay people get involved with the legal system.

The Magistrate

A magistrate is some one who is not paid or is qualified and is only seen in the magistrate’s court which oversees summary criminal cases (magistrate hears about 96% of all criminal cases).

To become a magistrate you must apply however not everyone can apply, you can not apply if you have a criminal record, if…show more content…

Also by having this system it creates the opportunity for there to be young magistrates as people over 18 can apply and if the system didn’t work or wasn’t useful it wouldn’t be used today and it wouldn’t have lasted 600 years which proves that it is a good system and that it works.


However like all good systems there are still disadvantages or weakness in the system. These disadvantages are; that most magistrates are over 50 as they have more time as they have retired and have money saved up this being the case it does not show a true reflect of the community but also as they are so old they may have different standards then people to and that they are not keeping up with modern times, also as each have their own religion they may judge them based on that belief. Also with magistrates they can be inconsistent with the sentencing as they may be in a different mood when giving out judgment. Another disadvantage is that as they have not had enough training and that they are not qualified they can be easily influenced by the clerk there for not given a fair sentencing.

The Jury

A jury is a person who is un-qualified and not paid who is selected at random to participate in the court hearing. To be

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The Role and Powers of Lay Magistrates in Criminal Cases Essay

813 Words4 Pages

The Role and Powers of Lay Magistrates in Criminal Cases

1a) Describe the role and powers of lay magistrates in criminal cases.

b) Consider whether lay magistrates are adequately trained for their work.

1a) Describe the role and powers of lay magistrates in criminal cases.

For centuries the criminal justice system has allowed lay people; people who are not legally qualified to administer justice to the civilian population. Lay magistrates are otherwise known as Justices of the Peace. Lay magistrates work is mainly connected to criminal cases although they also deal with some civil matters, especially family cases. Firstly, it is to be noted that lay magistrates only perform their duties…show more content…

Unlike other members of the judiciary, their role and functions have limitations. As individuals, lay magistrates may authorise search and arrest warrants, but mainly their functions are performed as a bench of three. This may include hearing applications for bail or be in charge of committal proceedings. In trial, they decide the facts, the sentence and the law, though the concluding is under the advice of the justice's clerk.

The clerk otherwise known as the legal adivisor has to be qualified as a barrister or solicitor for at least five years. The clerk’s duty is to guide the magistrates on the question of law, practice and procedure. The clerk can not assist in the decision making and should not normally retire with the magistrates when they make their discisions. Clerks deal with ruotine admistrative matters such as issuing warrents for arrest, extend poilce bail, adhourn criminal procedings and deal with Early Adminisitrative Hearings.

As lay magistrates perform an important role by being in charge over the vast majority of criminal cases, they enjoy the same advantage of immunity from suit as the rest of the judiciary as highlighted in Waltham Forest (1986) whereby the Court of Appeal held that a

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