Evaluate the Effectiveness of Lay People in the Courts

1789 Words May 21st, 2012 8 Pages
Throughout this section of my assignment I will evaluate the effectiveness of Lay people within the courts.

Throughout the United Kingdom Lay Magistrates are used within our courts and legal system in relation to sentencing criminals. They work within the Magistrates court dealing with summary offences, triable-either way offences and they also deal with starting off indictable offences which will then be sentenced in the Crown Court. Lay Magistrates come from local areas and when appearing at a court they would usually gather three Lay Magistrates. This is in order for the Lay Magistrates to come together in relation to making a final decision, towards making their final decision they are able to receive guidance from the court clerk
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These individuals do not have the qualifications in which other magistrates have which will require lay magistrates to receive basic training in order to process making decisions towards sentences. With their lack of knowledge this may result in
- Lenient sentences given
- Sentences not stable
- Relying on the court clerk
- Inconsistent sentences
- Longer to analyse cases and come to a decision

Inconsistency in sentencing is due to the lack of knowledge in which lay magistrates obtain and this creates a negative effect towards the court system. If sentences are inconsistent this means that the role of courts is not being completed effectively as they should be. Lay magistrates who are faced with offences may come to final decisions towards sentences which may not be acceptable, if an individual commits an offence they must receive a sentence which is a punishment towards their behaviour however with the lack of knowledge which the lay magistrate has, sentences may be inconsistent.

Another aspect involving a lack of knowledge which affects the court system negatively due to lay magistrates is sentences being too light in comparison to the offence. Within the magistrates court they deal with summary offences and triable-either way offences in which they must work towards coming to an acceptable sentence, if a lay magistrates has a lack of experience comparing to the experience which qualified magistrates have this will result in sentences given being too lenient.