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

Part-time judges in the Magistrates Court.

Extracts from this document...


There are about over 30,000 sitting as part-time judges in the Magistrates Court. They sit to hear cases as a bench of two or three, while a single magistrate could issue search warrants and arrest warrants. There are also District Judges (formerly Stipendiary Magistrates) who are qualified lawyers and sit on their own to deal with the cases. The history of magistrates goes back to the 12th Century and they have been a very important part of the criminal justice system. The important things to remember is that magistrates are lay people i.e. the majority are legally unqualified, must be between the ages of 18 and 65 and generally be of good character and judgement. Lay magistrates do not have to have any qualifications in law. There are however, some requirements as to their character, in that they must be suitable in character, integrity & understanding for the work they have to perform. Lay magistrates must live within the commission area of the court or within fifteen miles of the boundary of that area. They will have to give a commitment that they will sit in a court a minimum of 26 times per year and that they will do the necessary training. Approximately, 500 new magistrates are appointed each year. ...read more.


However, there may be a need for an adjournment because the CPS may not have the information required for completing the case or possibly because the defendant wants to seek legal advice. Moreover, it could be that the defendant has pleaded guilty and the Magistrates want pre-sentence reports on him/her before deciding what sentence to impose in addition it will be decided if the defendant should be remanded on bail or in custody. The Magistrates also deal with side matters that connect to criminal cases such as deciding bail applications. As regards civil matters, magistrates deal with unpaid utility bills, unpaid council tax and TV licences. They also deal with whether to grant alcohol and gambling licences to pubs, clubs, betting shops etc. Specially trained magistrates also deal with family cases in the Family Court. These deal with areas such as injunction orders for protection against violence, maintenance issues and adoption orders under the Children's Act 1989. Lay magistrates also sit at the Crown Court to hear appeals from the Magistrates court, where they form a panel with a qualified judge, usually a Circuit or a District Judge. Retirement age is normally 70 and they can be dismissed by the Lord Chancellor if they have a criminal conviction or misbehaviour of some form (about 10 are removed every year). ...read more.


Lay magistrates in particular have the reputation of being 'case hardened' and also too easily swayed by police evidence. Other criticisms include the perception of them as 'middle class', 'middle aged' and 'middle minded' who have little in common with the young working class defendants who make up the majority of defendants. There is also frequent inconsistency in sentencing and in the granting of bail, that they may be unduly influenced by the clerk and that their workload is becoming too great and too complicated, especially in the family court, considering the inadequate training they receive. However, this is countered by the view that, as members of the local community, they provide a wider cross-section on the bench than would be possible if you used professional judges only. Also, as cases can be dealt with more quickly, it is cheap, both for the government and for the defendant (9 times cheaper than a Crown Court trial). Magistrates perform many different roles and have both civil and criminal jurisdiction. Their powers in sentencing and imprisonment are limited, but the question must be asked, even if there are defects, what would be the alternative if lay justices were to be abolished. ?? ?? ?? ?? Criminal Justice Process_Module Code:CR1000_ November 14th, 2005 Do the lay magistracy have a legitimate role in the administration of justice? - 1 - ...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

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

A good summary of the key points. However, the description and evaluation feel a little disjointed.

Reference could also be made to the variable nature of training, inconsistency in sentencing and over-reliance on the clerk. There has also been found to be a prosecution bias.

3 Stars.

Marked by teacher Edward Smith 23/10/2013

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

    Distinguish Criminal law from Civil law in the English Legal System. Outline the jurisdiction ...

    4 star(s)

    Appealing from the crown court to the court of appeal is difficult as the grounds for appeal are narrow and the court of appeal takes a restricted view of its function. The Criminal Appeal Act 1968, as amended by the Criminal Appeal Act 1995, provides the court of appeal shall

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Explain the role and effectiveness of the law commission

    3 star(s)

    In the last 10 years parliament has lost interest in law reform, because of technical and uninteresting areas of law, also because there was not enough time to consider all proposals. The recent 5 year review has proved that the main problem with law reform is the inability of the departments to accept proposal and create an opportunity for discussion.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The Police and Criminal Evidence Acts 1984-provides an effective balance between the powers of ...

    3 star(s)

    had been done to the police reputation: The Phillips commission in 1981: This looked at the balance between powers for the police and safe guards for the suspects. However, by the time the report was completed a number of changes had been made in society and the importance of this case had been diminished.

  2. There are four different types of law, criminal, civil, common and statuate. In this ...

    in the individual being hurt themselves and not accomplishing the task that they set out to do which is to save other peoples lives. Conformity is a definite quality that is needed because you have to cooperate and work as part of the fire service team and not try to do things your own way.

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

    It is imperative that lay magistrates to have good character and standing in the local community. Lay Magistrates work part-time over a minimum of 26 sessions a year. Lay Magistrates are unqualified in law; many now can be trained in a new programme of training introduced in 1966.

  2. The UK Court System

    Claims under �5,000are dealt within the County Court under the small claims track, claims between �5,000 and �15,000 that are capable of being tried within one day are allocated to the fast track and claims over �15,000 are to the multi track.

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

    Only in these exceptional cases should the judge give the Nedrick Direction I.e. is death or GBH a virtual certainty, if so this is evidence from which the Jury may infer intention. 4. An exact Nedrick Direction is not required in instances where there is more than 1 source of evidence.

  2. Study the concept of Reasonable man and reasonability in tort law.

    The Reasonable Man is always thinking of others; prudence is his guide, and 'Safety First'. Devoid, in short, of any human weakness, with not one single saving vice, sans prejudice, procrastination, ill-nature, avarice, and absence of mind, as careful for his own safety as he is for that of others,

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