This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Role And Powers Of Lay Magistrates In Criminal Cases

1173 words - 5 pages

The Role and Powers of Lay Magistrates in Criminal Cases

1a) Describe the role and powers of lay magistrates in criminal cases.

b) Consider whether lay magistrates are adequately trained for their

1a) Describe the role and powers of lay magistrates in criminal cases.

For centuries the criminal justice system has allowed lay people;
people who are not legally qualified to administer justice to the
civilian population. Lay magistrates are otherwise known as Justices
of the Peace. Lay magistrates work is mainly connected to criminal
cases although they also deal with some civil matters, especially
family cases. Firstly, it is to be noted that lay magistrates only
perform their duties about once a fortnight. Despite being lay members
within the law, they try 97% of all criminal cases and deal with
preliminary hearings in the remaining 3% of criminal cases, these
involve Early Administrative Hearings, remand hearings, bail
applications, sentencing and transfer proceedings.

Lay magistrates also deal with commitals, magistrates can commit a
defendant charged with a triable either way offence for the sentence
to the Crown Court at the end of the case having heard the defendants
past record, they feel that their powers of punishment are

Lay magistrates have a fairly wide discretion as to the sentence they
select in each case although they are subject to certain restrictions.
Magistrates can only impose a maximum sentence of six months
imprisonment for one offence, the Criminal Justice Act 2003 allows
this to be increased to twelve months, and a maximum fine of £5000.

In theory lay magistrates are volunteers, who sit as a bench of two or
three in the magistrates court overseeing either summary or triable
either way offences, the size of the pannel has been limited to a
maximim of three, whereas before in 1996 there could be up to seven
magistrates sitting together to hear a case. Unlike other members of
the judiciary, their role and functions have limitations. As
individuals, lay magistrates may authorise search and arrest warrants,
but mainly their functions are performed as a bench of three. This may
include hearing applications for bail or be in charge of committal
proceedings. In trial, they decide the facts, the sentence and the
law, though the concluding is under the advice of the justice's clerk.

The clerk otherwise known as the legal adivisor has to be qualified as
a barrister or solicitor for at least five years. The clerk’s duty is
to guide the magistrates on the question of law, practice and
procedure. The clerk can not assist in the decision making and should
not normally retire with the magistrates when they make their
discisions. Clerks deal with ruotine admistrative matters such as
issuing warrents for arrest, extend poilce bail, adhourn...

Find Another Essay On The Role and Powers of Lay Magistrates in Criminal Cases

Identify And Evaluate The Roles Of The Prosecution And Defense In A Criminal Trial. Identify & Discuss The Sentencing Powers, Available To A Judge In A Specific Criminal Case

1693 words - 7 pages ; as a result, he spent nearly thirty years in prison for a crime he did not commit (BBC: 19/03/2009). However, if a defendant admits guilt then the defense's role will be to seek a lenient sentence based on that omission.There are many stages of a criminal trial and at each one the CPS conceivably carries the majority of the burden. During the first pre-trial hearing at Magistrates Court, the CPS must demonstrate that there is a prima facie case

Intention in Criminal Cases Essay

1813 words - 7 pages The key issue in this case is Intention. The big question, which I will try to answer, is whether or not Chris and Dorris intended to kill Andrew. Intention can often be linked to the Mens Rea, which can also be described as the guilty mind. Most crimes have to have included a Mens Rea and an Actus Reus. Without the Mens Rea there is no crime unless a reasonable man could foresee the outcome. Therefore Chris could be held liable for the death of

'Consider what you think are the key aims of a criminal trial and explain, with reasons, the extent to which you think the Crown Court or magistrates’

1689 words - 7 pages magistrates. Therefore, it cannot be said that the study conclusively demonstrates that all magistrates are inconsistent, thus unfair, in their judgments. Notwithstanding this, Crown Court proceedings still appear fairer than magistrates’ hearings, as juries are more apt at dealing with cases on a singular basis. Sanders2 states that lay (unpaid) justices ‘sit in court once-a-week, some sit twice a week, and all sit at least once a fortnight.’ Compared to

Should Naming and Shaming be stopped? Assess the role of the journalist in the reporting of sex offecnce cases

2252 words - 9 pages IntroductionThe role of the journalist is pivotal in reporting sex offence cases. It's critical to understand that the media and the press in particular make and break reputations, sensationalize issues and create moral panics. This we know and when it is concerned with sex offences the press are always assured to be controversial and to some extent, some would believe, over the top. But as McNae quotes, "the media are the eyes and ears of the

The Role of a Mother in As I Lay Dying Written by William Faulkner

2498 words - 10 pages , two different roles of a mother are portrayed in As I Lay Dying written by William Faulkner. Faulkner uses the literary technique of first person narrative with alternating perspectives. By doing so, Faulkner adds authenticity and the ability to relate (for some) to the two characters Addie Bundren and Cora Tull. The first person narrative acts as an important literary technique because it allows the reader to experience the opposing views of

The Selection and Role of a Jury in a Criminal Trial

946 words - 4 pages The Selection and Role of a Jury in a Criminal Trial This assignment focuses on how a jury is selected and its role in a criminal trial. The advantages and disadvantages of using a jury to decide the outcome of a criminal case will also be considered. A Jury is chosen at random, by a computer using names on the electoral

The Separation and Balance of Powers in the UK Constitution

1742 words - 7 pages The Separation and Balance of Powers in the UK Constitution “By the latter part of the 20th century the independence of the judges had come under increasing threat from interference by the executive. Recent reforms have, however, served to redress this position and ensure that a proper division of personnel and functions between these two arms of the state is restored. Discuss this statement in the context of the

Criminal Justice/ DIscuss the Bill of rights and their court cases and how they are applied today

726 words - 3 pages question that appeared was whether the states were allowed to present illegally seized evidence in court. The Court held that the Fourteenth amendment did not subject criminal justice in the states to specific limitations and that illegally obtained evidence did not have to be excluded from trials in all cases. This case was vital in that it required "warrants " to any searches or seizures.The Fifth Amendment ruled against 'double jeopardy', which

Rise in the powers of the Princeps

1021 words - 4 pages powers called the First Settlement of 27 BC* These powers were legal as they were given by the Senate and the people* Augustus had control both in the provinces and in Rome through the consulship* Most of the Roman Army was in his extended province* The army swore an oath of allegiance to their commander* The traditional magistrates were still elected annuallyThe First Settlement lasted until 23 BC when a number of incidents occurred:* The

Separation of Powers in the US Government

1014 words - 4 pages separation of powers provides for a system of checks and balances (separation of powers checks and balances are the powers given to each branch that allows it to limit the power of the other branches (Brannen 160). One branch in the United States government is the executive branch. The executive branch is responsible for implementing and administrating the public policy enacted by and funded by the legislative branch (separation of

No Separation of Powers in the UK

1698 words - 7 pages but also for the legal system, where an independent judiciary is essential if the rule of law is to have any substance.” Historical developments indicate that separation of powers played a crucial role in order for a governmental mechanism to function fairly and carry out the fundamental principles of the rule of law. This is illustrated in the controversial decision in M v Home Office, which indicated that no power by a political official should

Similar Essays

The Selection Process Of District Judges And Lay Magistrates

1142 words - 5 pages are against sentence and not against findings of guilt. In 1995 there were almost 25,500 appeals out of 1.5 million criminal cases. Rather less than half of the appeals were completely successful. It is often said that lay magistrates tend to be prosecution-biased, believing the police too readily. There is a low acquittal rate in magistrates’ courts; for instance the CPS report 1994/5 showed that of 93,000 defendants who pleaded not guilty, only 22% were acquitted.

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

The Work Of The Magistrates Court And Magistrates

1995 words - 8 pages with the deputy chairman and the chairman of any sub-committees or panels which the MCC operate. The magistrates court deals with around 95% of all criminal cases in Adult and Youth courts in England and Wales. If someone commits a criminal offence they must be brought before a magistrate as soon as possible. All summary offences are heard in the magistrates court. These are minor offences that can only be

The Role Of Isolation In As I Lay Dying

1336 words - 5 pages William Faulkner’s novel, As I Lay Dying, tells the story of a family that journeys cross-country with the intentions to find a proper resting place for their mother, Addie Bundren. After reading for only a short time, it becomes clear that two of her sons, Jewel and Darl, play a much larger role in the story than the other siblings. One could find many good points to support either character being labeled as the protagonist of the story, such