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

Lay magistrates rarely have any experience of the law before they are appointed

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Magistrates The office of Justices of the Peace was first established over 600 years ago with the Justices of the Peace Act 1361 and Justices of the Peace or Lay Magistrates are essential to our legal system and try (or least deal with in some respect) 93% of all criminal cases and also perform an important function with regard to some civil areas. The role of the magistrates can be listed as follows:- > Trying summary offences > Trying offences triable either way where the accused elects for summary trial > Holding committal proceedings where the offence is TEW and the accused elects for jury trial. > Issuing summons, issuing search warrants and warrants for arrest. > Dealing with applications for bail > Dealing with applications for legal aid in criminal cases > Dealing with applications for licences such as firearms and liquor > Dealing with certain domestic matters such as maintenance orders etc. > Trying offences committed by youths in the Youth Court. Appointment Lay magistrates are appointed by the Minister of Constitutional Affairs on behalf of the Crown on the advice of a local advisory committee. These committees may either approach people or you can apply to become a magistrate. ...read more.

Middle

before the case is finally dealt with. This does not tend to be the case with District Judges (Magistrate Court). ii) Bias towards the Police - a criticism often raised against the lay magistrates is that tend to believe the evidence produced by the police without any hesitation which may be unfair on the accused. iii) Magistrates are not representative of the Community - the classic definition of lay magistrate has long been believed to be that they are "middle aged, middle classed and middle minded", but is this true? > Back in 1948 a Royal Commission on JP's found that 75% of all magistrates came from the professional or middle classes. The latest research carried out shows that this is still the case today. > Research into the political background of our lay magistrates shows that from a survey of 218 magistrates - 91 (42%) voted Conservative, 56 (26%) Labour, 41 (19%) Lib Dem, 30 (13%) other. > Only 4% of our lay magistrates are below the age of 40. From the research figures above it does seem to indicate that the description of a magistrate is correct but the question really to be asked is, does it matter? ...read more.

Conclusion

> Provide the Local Advisory Committees with updated details of the social make up of the local community so that they might bear this in mind when selecting new magistrates to their bench. b) Better training The present training of magistrates is a fault as there is insufficient training to obtain the consistency required. At the moment the majority of the training is done on the job and so if you are trained by a strict bench you will tend to become the same. This provides consistency among a particular bench itself but leads to variations between benches. The way to overcome this would be to have more and wider training (i.e. nationwide) but this would be expensive. c) Clearer guidelines At the moment magistrates have very wide discretion when passing sentences and thus allows magistrates flexibility but also inconsistency. If magistrates were to be given tighter guidelines and less discretion this might improve consistency. d) Replace magistrates entirely with District Judges (Magistrates Court) Some have suggested the abolition of lay magistrates in favour of professional magistrates. This would have the advantage of improved consistency and more efficient trials, but would lose the participation of lay persons, the local knowledge of issues and the relative cheapness of the lay magistrate to the system. There would also be the practical problem of where would you find all of these professional judges. ...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

    abortion research

    4 star(s)

    Abortion is a difficult issue - no one approaches it lightly or makes a decision about whether to have an abortion lightly. Abortion also touches upon a significant number of important, fundamental ethical questions: the nature of personhood, the nature of rights, human relationships, personal autonomy, the extent of state authority over personal decisions, and more.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Part-time judges in the Magistrates Court.

    3 star(s)

    The plea before venue is the first stage in deciding where the triable either way case will be dealt and the defendant is asked for a plea. Specially trained magistrates deal with young offenders aged 10 - 17 in the Youth Court, where the panel must include at least one man and one woman.

  1. Lay Magistrates.

    Applicant must be between 21 and 65 but applicant under 27 are not considered. This is a criticism of the selection procedure because the government wants to have younger people as Lay Magistrates but you have to be 27 so the government is being hypocritical.

  2. Distinguishing between a Lay Magistrate and a Stipendiary Magistrate.

    Another alternative could be that we could use only the stipendiary magistrates but most stipendiary magistrates are usually white, middle aged and middle classed, this doesn't solve the problem of the younger generation being represented. An advantage is that lay magistrates are not qualified in law; this lets them give an opinion as an ordinary person.

  1. essay discussing the advantages and disadvanteges of lay magistrates

    With some of the more complex cases magistrates need to know about the laws that are involved in the case.

  2. LAW OF TORTS II

    R E P O R T Review of the Law of Negligence Panel, Ipp Report: Review of the Law of Negligence Report, 1, 2 (2002) 11. J O U R N A L S Cane, Peter, 'Taking Disagreement Seriously: courts, legislatures and the reform of tort law' (2005)

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

    word insanity or comments to direct ion insanity or the case is ruined. Diminished responsibility can be defined as, "Abnormality of the mind, arrested or retarded development or disease or injury to the mind, as to severely affect the actions of the person."

  2. Should juvenile offenders be treated differently to adult offenders?

    Juvenile offender rates have decreased from 1996/97 to 2003/04 from 3965 to 3023 per 100 000 per year. It then increased in 2005/06 and increased again in 2006/07 to 3532. However, the adult offender rate peaked in 2000/01 at 2100 per 100 000, in 2006/07 it was 1492 per 100 000 the lowest rate recorded.

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