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Discuss The Advantages & Disadvantages of The Use of Lay Magistrates

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Discuss The Advantages & Disadvantages of The Use of Lay Magistrates This essay will explore the importance of lay magistrates in the English Legal System. It will explain and justify the advantages and disadvantages of the use of lay magistrates. Lay magistrates, also known as Justices of the Peace (JP's). They are ordinary people who are trained to be judicial officers with limited authority to administer and enforce the law in magistrates' courts. They are not legally qualified and undertake the work of a magistrate out of the sense of citizenship, as they are not paid to become a lay magistrate and work on behalf of the government. There are approximately 30,000 lay magistrates across the country and they sit as benches of three. As the magistrate's court hears summary and hybrid offences, lay magistrates never make a decision on their own. ...read more.


This takes away any prejudice against magistrates, as they are being honest and faithful to the law system and are part of the area, which can provide a swifter process to proceedings in a magistrate's court. Nevertheless, training lay magistrates is a significant advantage. As improved training makes an impact on what lay magistrates should look out for in cases. Although they do not have extensive legal knowledge; they are trained to understand this knowledge to the best of their ability. Also, the improved training says that lay magistrates are not complete amateurs to the law. Furthermore, an advantage for the use of lay magistrates is that there are few successful appeals in a magistrate's court, which suggests that the system is working. This in turn will boost public confidence in the law enforcement system, as they will begin to believe that cases can be dealt with quickly and efficiently. ...read more.


It is a 'random' selection. The final disadvantage is that there is inadequate compensation for loss of earnings, thus discouraging workers from applying to become magistrates. As time off is needed, the magistrates do not get money for the time lost at work while working on cases. Working as a lay magistrate can be daunting, which could lead to rushed decisions being made. In conclusion, I think that the system of lay magistrates is a reasonable one, as the government are trying to increase the number of cases in magistrate's courts. Which means that the system is working. It is a cost efficient process, which allows the government to spend less; which eventually leads to the taxpayers paying less. Therefore, I think that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, as there is an increasing use of lay magistrates all across the country. ?? ?? ?? ?? Inderpal Singh/12AMCR AS Law/12D Mr. Walters Page - 1 - ...read more.

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