P4- Describe the Role of Lay People in Criminal Cases Essay

1362 Words Jan 3rd, 2013 6 Pages
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
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Also by having this system it creates the opportunity for there to be young magistrates as people over 18 can apply and if the system didn’t work or wasn’t useful it wouldn’t be used today and it wouldn’t have lasted 600 years which proves that it is a good system and that it works.


However like all good systems there are still disadvantages or weakness in the system. These disadvantages are; that most magistrates are over 50 as they have more time as they have retired and have money saved up this being the case it does not show a true reflect of the community but also as they are so old they may have different standards then people to and that they are not keeping up with modern times, also as each have their own religion they may judge them based on that belief. Also with magistrates they can be inconsistent with the sentencing as they may be in a different mood when giving out judgment. Another disadvantage is that as they have not had enough training and that they are not qualified they can be easily influenced by the clerk there for not given a fair sentencing.

The Jury

A jury is a person who is un-qualified and not paid who is selected at random to participate in the court hearing. To be
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