Advantages and Disadvantages of Lay people

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  • Advantages and Disadvantages of lay people
    • Representative
      • Juries are representatives of the general population. Magistrates are not as representative as juries but more than judges.
    • Confidence
      • Public have confidence in juries and magistrates as ordinary members of the public. Juries are unlikely to become case hardened as they usually only sit for 2 weeks.
    • Local knowledge
      • Magistrates and Juries have knowledge of the local area and so therefore are understanding of the local issues.
    • Bias
      • Magistrates are criticised for being prosecution minded
      • Juries have high acquittal rates - 60% in crown compared to only 20% in magistrates court
    • Unrepresentative
      • Magistrates are not representative in terms of age and tend to be middle-class professionals or retired people
    • Inconsistency
      • there are geographical inconsistence in sentencing- magistrates in some areas impose harsher sentences than magistrates elsewhere
    • Secrecy
      • Juries make their decisions in secret, As such, it is not known how they reach their decisions  or whether they have understood the relevant law


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