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A) Explain How Lay Magistrates And District Judges (Magistrate's Court) Are Selected And Appointed. B) Identify And Discuss The Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Use Of Lay Magistrates.

2315 words - 9 pages

1a) Explain how lay magistrates and district judges (magistrate's court) are selected and appointed.Lay Magistrates can also be referred to as 'justices of the peace'. The Lord Chancellor appoints JP's. This is formally done under a document called 'commission of the peace'. This is carried out in two ways. Either in respect of counties, where it is under the recommendation of the lord lieutenant of the county and assisted by the advisory committee, or in respect of urban areas. In this case, it is on recommendation of the advisory committee only.These committees were kept secret, until 1992, but have since been re-published so that all names are noted.The Lord Chancellor has to take into account that the panel has a wide-cross section. This means that there should be a variety of different people from different racial and social backgrounds. This is to make sure that the panel of JP's is representative of all possible defendants, and all aspects of society.In order to become a JP, it is important to be reliable and committed. The lay people must either live or work, within a 15-mile radius of the area being scrutinized on behalf of the defendant. JP's must also be able to sit in court for a minimum of 26 sessions-one session making up one half day. The lay people are not paid, therefore they are reimbursed for loss of earrings, travel expenses and lunch etc. it is vital for lay people to be aged between 21 and 65, although there are not may 21 year old JP'S and the youngest age usually ranges from 26-27. This is due to lack of life experience. Above all it is important for the potential JP'S to not have a criminal record this refers to bankruptcy, theft, tax etc.District judges are higher up than lay people. They are professional, and for this reason, are paid.Before becoming a district judge, qualification of seven years is required. Usually you would have either of been a barrister or solicitor for seven years prior. You would start off by doing two years training as a district judge; this would be in order to gain experience, to prepare you. The usual age of retirement for a district judge is 70, and the Lord Chancellor has the power to dismiss district judges for bad behaviour. As district judges are legally trained, they can work through case quicker, and have better technical and legal knowledge.1b) Identify and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the use of lay magistrates.There are many advantages of having lay magistrates. As they are not paid, the government save money. The magistrate's court is therefore cheap to run. It would be very expensive for the courts otherwise, to hire legally trained judges. The magistrates are normal people. They have understanding of the kind of live the defendants have. This variety of people shows that there is more of a representation. The judiciary is made up of a wider cross-section. 45% are women. Although there are not many ethnic minorities there are still a vast amount, and the numbers are...

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