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

The duties of Magestrates and Juries.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Part A) Magistrates have a large range of duties, but they are mainly connected to criminal cases, totaling more than two million cases a year. However, Lay Magistrates deal with some civil cases; these tend to be family cases. Out of all criminal cases, 97% of them are dealt with by Lay Magistrates and in the other 3%, Lay Magistrates will hear the preliminary hearings, such as Early Administrative Hearings, and some Committal proceedings. To hear family cases including protection orders such as the protection against violence there is a special panel of Magistrates. Lay Magistrates will also decide bail after a suspected offender has been arrested and charged. The defendant may be released on bail by the police, but it is otherwise the magistrates' duty to decide whether he should be bailed or remanded in custody pending trial. In a summary trial the magistrates are the sole judges of fact and law (though they may seek the Clerk's advice on matters of law), and must determine an appropriate sentence in the event of a conviction. ...read more.

Middle

The jury's role in a criminal trial is to act as judge of fact. Sometimes there is a direct conflict of evidence and the jury must then use their experience of human nature in deciding who to believe is right. In other cases, there are more complex issues of reasonableness to be resolved, and the jury's task would be more difficult. A juror should have experience of life rather than on any specialized legal knowledge making it appropriate that it should be left to them, such as in R v Litchfield in 1998, when a ship foundered off the Cornish coast and three crewmembers were drowned. Having allegedly followed an unsafe course and relied too heavily on his engines even though he knew the fuel was contaminated the ship's master was tried for manslaughter. Affirming his conviction and sentence of 18 months' imprisonment, the Court of Appeal said it is up to the jury to decide whether negligence is gross negligence. They rejected an argument that since negligently endangering a ship is a statutory offence, it is nonsense to let the jury decide whether a defendant's behavior amounts to a crime: the question for the jury is whether it amounts to the crime of manslaughter. ...read more.

Conclusion

They refused to find the defendants guilty as instructed, in spite of being shut up without food or drink, and following their verdict the Recorder of London directed they be imprisoned for contempt. Vaughan CJ granted a writ of Habeas Corpus for their release; once the jury has given their verdict, the judge has no option but to accept it. In section 17 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967, if defendant pleads not guilty and the prosecutor proposes to offer no evidence, the court may order that a verdict Of not guilty be recorded, or the jury to be directed return such a verdict. This was carried out in the R v Ferguson case in 1970 when the defendant was charged with driving after the consumption of excess alcohol. The defendant pled not guilty, but the facts were undisputed. There was an argument as to the validity of the procedure adopted. The Deputy Chairman ruled that the procedure was valid and directed the jury to return a verdict of guilty. The direction was upheld by the Court of Appeal. Law Homework 7: Lay People 5/4/07 Daniel Shuck Page 1 of 3 ...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

    In order to decide whether or not trial by jury should or should not ...

    4 star(s)

    On the face of things it seems that a significant number of defendants do elect to be tried at crown court only to plead guilty at the door of the trial. However a study by Professor Lee Bridges, of the Legal Research Institute at the University of Warwick14, Suggests that

  2. essay discussing the advantages and disadvanteges of lay magistrates

    Most people would argue that they have local knowledge which yes they probably do, but really I don't care if they have local knowledge because, knowing "Janet down the road has just had a baby" has nothing to do with the application of the law!

  1. civil law, criminal law and habeas corpus

    Crime is a public, as distinct from a private, wrong; it affects not only the victim but the community, which requires the punishment of the offender as a way of expressing public condemnation. Within criminology many theories, based on biology, psychology, and sociology, have been put forward to explain criminal

  2. Does Hart's theory differ to the 'gunman writ large' situation?

    The problem for the reader of Hart's Concept of Law, is that Hart chooses not to describe in detail the exact nature of the 'internal aspect'. He does at face value though appear to have destroyed the command theory and differentiated between the situation of the gunman and that of rules containing an internal dimension which render the rules obligatory.

  1. Justices of the Peace - Magistrates Courts

    the population in the age range from which magistrates are normally appointed, but by 2000 the position was considerably improved. Although there were inevitable variations between benches, the lay magistracy nationally reflected almost exactly the ethnic make-up of the population as a whole.

  2. Contact orders

    Even though the young people are more listened to and decisions taken in their best interests6 the domestic courts must take into account the non resident parents' human rights when deciding the outcome of the case as was held in Somnerfeld v Germany (2003).

  1. Describe the range of duties undertaken by Lay Magistrates.

    These Magistrates receive extra training for this and also sit in private and is less formal than Adult Courts. The Family Court is another duty that a Lay Magistrate deals with. This is things such as protection orders from violence, affiliation orders concerning the father of a child, adoption orders,

  2. The Law Relating to Negotiable Instruments

    up to the holder, but the holder has no right of action against the consignee and holds the Hundi on the credit of the drawer or endorser. As the holder is an insurer, he cannot claim payment if the goods are totally lost, although he is entitled to be paid

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