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The Work of the Magistrates Court and Magistrates

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The Work of the Magistrates Court and Magistrates In the legal system there are many different types of courts. This essay talks about the Magistrates Courts and the Magistrates themselves. The office of magistrate dates back to the 12th century when Richard 1 appointed "keepers of the peace". They have performed judicial functions since the 13th century and the term, justice of the peace was being used as far back as 1361. Magistrates were in charge of the police up until 1839. Paid magistrates have existed since the late 18th century and they have had to be legally qualified since the mid 19th century, when it was decided they must be barristers. Lay magistrates in England and Wales, except in the Duchy of Lancaster, are appointed by the Lord Chancellor on behalf of the Sovereign. Candidates are recommended to the Lord Chancellor for appointment by his local advisory Committees. These consist of magistrates and other local people. The Lord Chancellor will consider a candidate's personal suitability for appointment regardless of ethnic origin, gender, marital status, political affliction, religion or (depending on the physical requirements of the office) disability. Preparation for becoming a magistrate involves induction evenings, training days and visits to prisons and young offenders institutions. ...read more.


Magistrates should also be prepared to sit for a whole day if necessary. 70 sittings a year is the maximum for those sitting solely in the adult courts, but there is a maximum of 100 for those also sitting on specialist panels. In court a half day sitting is counted as one attendance. Sittings in the morning and afternoon of the same day count as two attendances but the afternoon sitting must be a minimum of one hour long. Sittings in the adult court, licensing and betting committees, if they meet on separate occasions, also count as one attendance. Members of specialist committees are responsible for the administration of liquor licensing system and for the grant or refusal of applications for licences and permits relating to betting and the registration of gaming clubs, although, most magistrates carry out some routine licensing work. Magistrates are expected to play a part in the life of the bench and where possible, attend bench meetings e.t.c. They are expected to deal, at home, with requests for warrants for arrest and search and to take declarations of various kinds. They may also undertake work out of court, as members of committees, such as an MCC. A magistrates's court committee (MCC) ...read more.


Indictable offences include murder, rape , armed robbery and serious assault. An indictment is the formal document that sets out the charge or charges against the defendant. This is where these types of offences get their name from. If a defendant is found not guilty, they are free to leave the courtroom but if they are found guilty it is then the magistrates's job to decide a suitable sentence. Magistrates have limited sentencing powers so they may pass the case over to another court, such as the Crown Court, if they think their sentencing powers are insufficient. If a defendant has chosen for their case not to be heard in the magistrates court they will usually tried in the Crown Court. The Crown Court has a lot more sentencing power then the magistrates court so a downside to this choice is if they are found guilty they are likely to have a harsher punishment than a magistrates court would give. For a single criminal offence committed by an adult, a magistrates sentencing powers include the imposition of fines, community service orders, probation orders or a period of time in custody. Magistrates cannot normally order sentences which exceed 6 months (or 12 months for consecutive sentences) or fines exceeding �5000. Magistrates may also sit in the Crown court with a judge to hear appeals from magistrates's courts against conviction or sentence and proceedings on committal to the crown court for sentence. Lisa Andersen ...read more.

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