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Distinguishing between a Lay Magistrate and a Stipendiary Magistrate.

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Distinguishing between a Lay Magistrate and a Stipendiary Magistrate. Introduction: - Magistrates sit on a bench in the magistrates' court and hear around 98% of all criminal cases. Many Magistrates' deal with summary offences including, driving without insurance and common assault. The Magistrates listen to the case in hand, and then have to decide weather the defendant is guilty or not guilty. They have to come up with a suitable punishment for a guilty plea aswell. There are two types of magistrates, lay magistrates and stipendiary magistrates. Lay magistrates are also known as Lay Justices or Justices of the Peace (JPs). Lay Magistrates are the more common type of magistrates. Lay magistrates give their time on voluntary, although expenses can be paid (under the Justices of Peace Act 1979). There are over 60,000 lay magistrates in England and Wales. In order to become a lay magistrate, there are number of criteria that need to be fulfilled. ...read more.


Stipendiary magistrates are qualified lawyers, who are appointed to sit as full-time professional judges in magistrates' courts. They support and complement the work of the lay magistrate and help them maintain consistency with respect to sentencing. Stipendiary magistrates usually sit alone. There are currently 92 stipendiary magistrates in England and Wales and some 30,000 lay magistrates. A person appointed by Her Majesty to be a stipendiary magistrate in any commission area shall by virtue of his office be a justice of the peace for that area. Under section 71 of the courts and legal service act 1990, Any stipendiary magistrate appointed under this section - shall be a person recommended to Her Majesty by the Lord Chancellor, and shall not be removed from office except on the Lord Chancellor's recommendation. The number of stipendiary magistrates appointed under this section must not ever at any time exceed 50. A Stipendiary magistrate appointed under this section must sit in a court near to their commission area. ...read more.


To address the problem of delays in the magistrates' court the Narey system is currently being introduced. Following the success of six pilot schemes around the country, is has seen defendants been brought to the bench within 48 working hours rather than the usual four to five weeks. The success of the scheme includes the introduction of law prosecutors to review files, putting before the bench straightforward "guilty" pleas and working closely with the police. It should be noted that a lay magistrate is assisting the administration of justice. They laws have already been made by the hierarchy and approved in the house of commons by the MP's who are there to ensure all the things that the lay magistrates are being criticised for. Conclusion: - In my opinion I think it is an advantage using ordinary members of the public as judges. I recently went to my local court, and I saw that the Lay Magistrates have unbiased views towards the defendant, and gives their views purely as a local person, and they give their views as a normal unqualified in law human being. ...read more.

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