The Backbone Of The Criminal Justice System

975 WordsOct 22, 20144 Pages
Magistrates are considered to be the backbone of the criminal Justice system dealing with over 95% of all criminal cases in England and Wales (The Judicial Office, 2014) This idea appears to be supported by their varied role within the criminal justice system and with over 1.5 to 2 million criminal cases each year going through the Magistrates’ Courts (Ministry of Justice, 2012). However there are many criticisms of their use in the administration of criminal justice which will be examined further to determine the value of their role. (81) A major advantage of the use and involvement of ordinary “lay” people in the operation of the law, is that it promotes public confidence, enhancing democracy within the legal system whilst also giving a common sense perspective (Simmonds, 2014) Furthermore, due to trials being open to the public, justice is seen to be done. (52) In support of this, Baroness Seccombe (Hansard, 2000) quoted the former Lord Chief Justice “The noble and learned Lord, Lord Bingham, said “The existence of 30,000 citizens distributed around the country, all with a sound, practical understanding of what the law is and how it works is, I think, a democratic jewel beyond price"”. (12) There are approximately 23,000 magistrates (The Judicial Office, 2014) who are trained, part time, unpaid members of a local area, appointed by the Lord Chancellor, on recommendation from the Local Advisory Committee. ‘Justices of the Peace’ as they are also known are not legally
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