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

essay discussing the advantages and disadvanteges of lay magistrates

Extracts from this document...


Essay discussing the advantages and disadvantages of lay magistrates and describing the work undertaken by them As with any legal system the whole point is to give everyone a fair trail and this would, if it was from anyone's point of view that didn't live in the UK mean getting a professional, who knew exactly how to deal with any part of law. So why In Great Britain do we use non-legally trained members of the public to decide who is guilty and who isn't. Does it not seem blatantly obvious that this is not the way to go forward in a modern society? Look around the world, what other civilized country uses incompetent members of the public to enforce the laws? I would like to make it obvious from the start that I am against this system for reasons I will later expand on. The job of Justice of the Peace or better known as lay magistrate originates from 1195 when Richard I appointed "keepers of the peace". They had very few powers to start with but by 1361 they had been duties such as control of weights and measures and responsibility of the highways. ...read more.


They do this by referring to the clerk, who can give information on the laws but aren't allow cannot give advice on how they should deal with the case. As magistrates aren't legally trained they have limited powers compared to that of a judge. The fine limit is �5000 and they can only sentence up to a 6 month jail term. When you take a glance at almost all of the cases they deal with this is perfectly adequate, but this means that if they are dealing with a case that involves anything above their power then they have to hand it up to a higher court. The backbone of a good legal system is the understanding of law by the people it covers, and thus can only be achieved if the system is either very simple or they are involved in the making and implementing of the laws. Now in Great Britain the laws certainly aren't simple but neither are they in any country and it would be amazingly hard to simplify the law so as everyone can understand it so that should be out of the picture. ...read more.


There is also the issue with the speed of it. There is always the complaint of how long legal cases take so people saying that the magistrates court is faster to many would sound like a great idea. But yet again I must point out that the time it takes is of the greatest of importance but for the fairness of the out come. When I look at this point the phrase "slow and steady wins the race" comes to mind, and I think this is a very applicable idea in much of the legal system. Overall I think that the idea of using members of the public to decide court cases is a totally unreliable method which really shouldn't be the main part of the legal system in england. I can see where the idea came from and it is well intended but it is just useless in a modern legal system due to the complex laws and bylaws. To put it simply magistrates are... * miss represented in court * middle aged * middle class * biased * pro sentencing * unreliable So really not great really. So would you like to be tried by unreliable middle class magistrates or a professional jury? ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Police powers

    4 star(s)

    Firstly, the police are meant to give some identification and the officer did not state his name or the station. In addition to that, he did not state the reason for the stop and search even though there were reasonable grounds to suspect Tyrone of committing a crime or about to commit an offence.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Part-time judges in the Magistrates Court.

    3 star(s)

    About 90% of their court work is criminal and 10% is civil. They actually deal with about 97% of all criminal cases, which shows their importance to the system. Single magistrates deal the remaining 3% of cases that are too serious for them, such as murder, rape, manslaughter etc.

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

    as real life examples of this long term abuse. Under the weight of public opinion these women were allowed to appeal. When their full story came to light about the abuse that lead to their attacks on their partners the appeal courts decided that the original trial court judges were incorrect to use the Duffy direction of a 'sudden and temporary' loss of self control.

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

    A trial in a magistrate court is much more cheaper and efficient than a trial in a crown court. If the government is spending less money on lay magistrates, it can spend that money saved on other important issues, such as hospitals, the military and the police service.

  1. Describe the system of trial by jury within the English legal system.

    The majority of judges went to a private school, and are said to be more biased than a panel of jurors. Another advantage of trial by jury is that twelve opinions are seen to be fairer than one. This way many different viewpoints are seen, and the decision would be

  2. Worlds Apart: Orientalism, Antifeminism, and Heresy in Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale

    What I call the rhetoric of proximity, which draws the Other dangerously near by suggesting its similitude or "intimacy," ultimately serves the monitory purpose of displaying evil's disturbing likeness to good; it sounds the alarm, so to speak, that mobilizes the faithful to repel evil into a clearly delimited position as Other.

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

    the correct order at the court he usually appears in at his normal rates. But there are times when a barrister can refuse a case- when the rate of pay is not adequate to the amount of work being done.

  2. The Work of the Magistrates Court and Magistrates

    Before applying to become a magistrate you must visit a magistrates court when it is in sitting, at least once. If an applicant is employed, they must establish with their employer that they will be allowed to take a reasonable amount of time off work, to undertake the duties of a magistrate.

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