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

Lay People

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Lay People In Britain crimes are committed everyday and people break the law. People who are accused of committing these crimes must be tried in a court of law where they are called the defendant. When someone breaks the law, they are accused of committing a crime against society so therefore it is a section of society that will judge them. These representatives are known as lay people because they are selected from the public to provide societies opinion in the courtroom. They are vital to the criminal law system of today and usually provide fair verdicts when judging someone. Even though lay people tend to be good representatives of society, there are problems that can hinder their effectiveness. In England and Wales there are two main types of court that deal with criminal cases, these being the Magistrates Court and the Crown Court. Crimes are split up into these two courts depending on how serious they are; Summary Offences being only minor crimes, Triable Either Way Offences being the middle range of crimes and indictable offences which are the most serious of crimes. Juries reside in the crown court where they hear indictable offences like murder, rape and GBH. Generally offences that have a minimum sentence of one year are tried in the crown court. However juries could also be made to hear Triable Either Way Offences, crimes that have been sent up to them from the magistrates court because they have deemed the case to be too serious for them to try. In the magistrates court, summary offences are seen to like theft, ABH and Assault. The magistrates court will only deal with cases that have a maximum sentence of a year. They also have the power to issue fines of up to �5,000 where they see fit. Every person charged with a criminal offence will first have to be presented to a magistrates court where they decide what type of offence was committed. ...read more.

Middle

Cases at the Crown court can take a long while to deal with as it must be made sure that the whole jury understands all the evidence being given. The whole panel must be present every moment of the trial to make sure they all receive the evidence from the different sides. All the evidence must be presented to the jury no matter how complicated and confusing it may be. If a person is illiterate then the court must make sure the evidence is given in a way that the person can understand because he is a representative of the illiterate section of society. The whole point of a jury is to represent society and decide whether the persons actions are wrong in the eyes of society. Juries try to give a unanimous verdict but a judge can choose to take a majority decision. Juries are highly valued in the system and are rarely seen to do things wrong. For example if they were to make a verdict and it was unfair because they didn't understand, it would be the judges thought for not explaining the point of law to them. This could cause a re-trial. To be liable for Jury service you must be aged between 19 and 70 and have lived in the United Kingdom for at least five years after reaching the age of 13. The selection process is completely random as the names are selected from the electoral register and the summoning bureau. You are disqualified from jury service if you have been imprisoned or detained for more than 5 years, imprisoned for the protection of society or if you have served an extended sentence for any crime. You can be suspended for 10 years if at anytime in the last 10 years you have been given a community order or served a prison sentence. If you suffer from a mental illness you are not allowed to sit in a jury. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was wrong not because of the use of the Ouija board but because the Jury had not used it in there discussion room and had discussed the case out of court. Another problem is that in cases involving money and large figures such as fraud the Jury may have to sift through pages and pages of digits without properly understanding it. This isn't pleasant for the jury and it could cause an unfair verdict. Jury members may become bored and rush the verdict. A full jury trial can also take a lot of time and cost a great deal. Jurors lives could be greatly effected by the length of a case. Media coverage could also cause jurors to form a bias view of the case. It can be very hard for jurors not to hear about a popular case and receive outside information that could be false and harmful to the fairness of the case. There is also a risk that outside sources could corrupt a jury. There is currently talk that an important case involving a drugs baron is being discussed as to weather a jury should be used as there is such a high chance of corruption. The name of the case hasn't been disclosed to the public but if the decision to not use a Jury does go ahead then it may change our judicial system for many years to come. In my opinion I believe that the system works well as it is. The Magistrates acts as a workhorse dealing with all the minor cases and it does this well. Perhaps there could be more done to increase the amount of Ethnics working in the Magistrates to reflect local communities and more adequate training to be given to decrease the amount the Magistrates rely on the Clark of the court. The Jury system also works well providing the Jurors with plenty of power to reflect societies opinion. I don't believe that Juries should be removed in the future because if this were to happen then societies opinion may be overlooked. Sources used http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magistrates'_Courts www.a-level-law.com/caselibrary/R%20v%20YOUNG%20%5B1995%5D%20QB%20324%20-%20CA.doc http://www.dca.gov.uk/judicial/ja_arep2002/annex_g.html GCSE Law Book ...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

    Law of Evidence - R v Kearley

    5 star(s)

    The Law Commission31 has recommended a change in the definition of hearsay which would mean that implied assertion will only fall foul of the hearsay rule where there is an intention to assert. This is an approach favoured by a number of academics32.

  2. Explain the different roles of Lay Magistrates and Juries in criminal cases.

    These few qualification can also hinder cases because there are no standards of educational qualifications so there is an increased failure to understand the cases they are involved with. Jurors are only used when the defendant pleads not guilty. The judge decides points of law and the jurors decide the facts.

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

    The defendant CAN NOT plea diminished responsibility AND drunkenness. During most ask whether the defendant would have committed this crime if suffering from depression alone. Alcoholism (as a disease) is acceptable as causing diminished responsibility. It would be up to the barrister to decide which defence applies.

  2. essay discussing the advantages and disadvanteges of lay magistrates

    For either of these options you need to be middle aged or retired. The local commite will interview the candidates to see if they have the qualities that in their eyes a person in the position of Justice of the peace should have.

  1. Should Capital Punishment be enforced

    Research by Isaac Ehrlich in 1973 shows that with every inmate executed, 7 lives can be protected because others were deterred from committing murder. Human beings fear death more than anything else in the world, and hence, the belief is that no human being would want to take another's life

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

    Making judicial discisions - this focuses on impartial and structured discision making. Training for new magistrates are divided into three parts which are: Initial introductory training - this covers such matters as understanding the orgainisation of the bench and the administration of the court and the roles and responsiblities.

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

    The crown prosecution service representative decides if crimes investigated by the police should go to court, and if so, conducts the case for prosecution. They prepare the case, and are in court to assist the prosecution advocate. The CPS representative hold the prosecution file in court, and advise the prosecution advocate during the duration of the trial.

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

    However, this will not prevent inconsistencies in sentencing since the clerk is allowed to help the magistrates decide on a sentence. It can be said that magistrates rely too heavily on their clerk. Another point is that the system involves members of the community and provides a wider cross-section on

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