• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe the selection, training, and role of lay magistrates.

Extracts from this document...


Describe the selection, training, and role of lay magistrates. Potential magistrates must go through what one would call 'checks' to see if they would be suitable to sit in the position of a magistrate, and fulfil their duties. It is vital that magistrates are appointed carefully since they will hold a great deal of responsibility not only for the courts but for the community as a whole, as they are expected to be respectable and trustworthy citizens. Therefore a selection process is needed in which the names of potential magistrates can be put forward by people who are interested for themselves or by anyone else who wants to nominate a person. For instance groups like; local political parties, trade unions, and chambers of commerce would hand in names of potential magistrates. The Lord Chancellor set out six key qualities which candidates are expected to have these were; good character, understanding and communication, social awareness, maturity and sound temperament, sound judgement, and commitment and reliability. ...read more.


Following the training there are specific roles and areas which a magistrate can get into to carry out their duties. They are mainly connected to criminal cases, although they deal with some civil matters (especially family cases). They try 97% of all criminal cases and deal with preliminary hearings in the remaining 3% of criminal cases. This would involve Early Administrative Hearings, remand hearings, bail applications, and committal proceedings. They also deal with civil matters which include the enforcing of debts owed to the utilities (gas, electric, and water), non-payment of the council tax and non payment of television licenses. In addition they have powers to grant licences for the sale of alcohol and for the betting and gaming establishments. Specially nominates and trained justices form the Youth Court Panel to hear criminal charges against young offenders aged 10 to 17 years old. These magistrates must be under 65 years old. There is also a special panel for the family court to hear family cases including orders for protection against violence, affiliation cases, adoption orders and proceedings under the Children Act 1989. ...read more.


However, as most magistrates come from professional and managerial classes it is unlikely that they live, or have any real knowledge of the problems in poorer areas. Another aspect which would certainly be important to discuss is the fact that some say that lay magistrates tend to be prosecution-biased (believe the police too readily). In contrast to this view however the actual evidence shows that there are very few defendants who appeal against the magistrates' decision and many of the appeals are against sentence and not against the finding of guilty. This would lead one to the conclusion that despite the amateur status of lay magistrates, they do justice to the role given to them. Finally the use of unpaid lay magistrates is cheap; this is a huge advantage, because the cost of replacing them with paid magistrates has been estimated to cost �100 million a year. The cost of a trial in the Magistrates Court is also much cheaper than in the Crown Court. Overall the advantages and disadvantages are both important features to look at, once looked at in depth it can be concluded that the number of advantages and disadvantages are equally balanced. Misbah Hanif ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Law essays

  1. Criminal Law (Offences against the person) - revision notes

    He believed he was subjectively innocent Judge applied the objective test and he was found guilty COA said the objective test was correct and the conviction was upheld AG Ref (No. 1) (1975) - Soldier shot someone trying to get away.

  2. essay discussing the advantages and disadvanteges of lay magistrates

    These include... * social awareness * good character * maturity * commitment and relability After being chosen as a trainee magistrate, one would have to go through a three section training course that tries to hone the competances necessary for the job.(if one wanted to become the chairman of the bench then an extra section would have to be taken)

  1. Discuss The Advantages & Disadvantages of The Use of Lay Magistrates

    However, as well as having advantages for the use of lay magistrates, there are also disadvantages to this. A disadvantage for the use of lay magistrates is they are prosecution bias, meaning that they tend to believe the police services over the defence.

  2. Describe the role and powers of lay magistrates in criminal cases. b) Consider whether ...

    I will only meantion 3 which are: Managing yourself - this focuses on some of the basic asspects of self management in realtion to prepearing for court, conduct in court and ongoing learning. Working as a member of a team -this focuses on the team aspect of discision making in the Magistrates court.

  1. Describe the main differences between solicitors and barristers with regard to training and work ...

    A duty of care is a legal responsibility put on a person requiring that they use a reasonable standard of care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm their neighbors. A person can only be sued for negligence if they show that there was a duty of care owed,

  2. The Work of the Magistrates Court and Magistrates

    Magistrates are not paid for their service but may claim allowances, within specified limits, for travelling and subsistence. Most employers will allow time off with pay but if a magistrate suffers loss of earnings, they may claim a financial loss allowance.

  1. Justices of the Peace - Magistrates Courts

    may bring greater wisdom, and offenders might be reluctant to accept the judgement of magistrates younger than themselves - but it confirms the stereotype of magistrates as middle-aged or elderly. A survey in 1987 showed that only 2 per cent of magistrates were black, compared with 4 per cent of

  2. The Age Of Criminal Responsibility

    She also added "The system must recognise that although people may be offenders they are also children". Significantly, the age of criminal responsibility is still the same as it was in 1969, but there is no longer any need for a prosecution to prove that a ten year old knows the difference between right and wrong.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work