P4- Describe the Role of Lay People in Criminal Cases

Topics: Judge, Jury, Prosecutor Pages: 4 (1351 words) Published: December 19, 2012
P4- describe the role of lay people in criminal cases
D1- evaluate the effectiveness of lay people in English courts


Lay people are people who don’t get paid and who are not qualified; they are volunteer’s, lay people in the law are the magistrate and the jury and I will be explaining their role and the advantages and disadvantages of having lay people get involved with the legal system.

The Magistrate

A magistrate is some one who is not paid or is qualified and is only seen in the magistrate’s court which oversees summary criminal cases (magistrate hears about 96% of all criminal cases).

To become a magistrate you must apply however not everyone can apply, you can not apply if you have a criminal record, if you are under the age of 18 or over 65 as they retire at 70 and as a magistrate you r expected to serve for at least 5 years. If you can apply you must go through an interviewing process to see if you have the right quality’s to become a magistrate. The quality’s that are required are; honest and fair, trusted by others, plenty of time, understand document or evidence, communicate effectively, sense of fairness and are mature. When you do become a magistrate you must work for at least 13 days, or 26 half-days, a year. However before the person starts work they do have some training, they also have a responsibility to notify if there is any conflict or interest in a case and to turn it down.

The magistrate’s jurisdiction can grant bail if police refuse they can also prosecute up to £5,000 or 12 months in jail to a individual person (21 years of age you can go to a proper jail) if it a company they can prosecute up to £20,000. People at the age 10 to 17 who have committed crimes go to the youth court to be trailed.

In the magistrates court there is a clerk which is fully trained, there role is to advise the magistrate about the law and procedures and if the sentence the magistrate has given is not satisfactory then the...

Bibliography: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/Gettinginvolvedinyourcommunity/Volunteering/DG_195453
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