Disadvantages of lay Magistrates

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  • Disadvantages of lay magistrates in the Criminal Courts. (CATBINS)
    • C: Magistrates are more CASE hardened.
      • This is where they hear so many cases, so they are more likely to believe the prosecution
        • Seen in the case Bingham Justices ex p Jowitt
    • A: They are reliant on legal ADVISERS.
      • This is due to a lack of legal knowledge, so they could rely heavily on the court clerk.
    • T: It is TIME consuming for the bench to come to a decision.
      • They hear less cases than a judge, and variations in the quality of training may cause variations in sentence, and granting bail.
    • B: They could be BIAS for the police and tend to believe them more than the D.
      • This especially takes place outside of London where they may see the same CPS prosecutor frequently, which could affect their judgement.
    • I: They have an INCREASING workload.
      • This may lead to inadequate compensation for loss of earning, and may need 3 days to hear a case, which difficult to arrange.
    • N: There is NOT a true cross section of the community, as there are limited applicant and those who cannot take time off work.
      • Most of them are middle aged, middle classed and white.
      • According to the report, Judiciary in the Magistrates' Court, 40% were retired.
    • S: SENTENCING is inconsistent for same crimes in different areas, or from bench to bench.
      • E.g. 21% of D's charged with driving whilst disqualified, in South Wales, were sent to Essex.
        • Compared to Essex, where 77% of D's charged with driving whilst disqualified were sent to prison.


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