CRIMINAL COURTS AND LAY PEOPLE AS LAW

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CRIMINAL COURTS AND LAY PEOPLE
COURTS FOR INITIAL TRIAL
CRIMINAL APPEAL: MAG. COURT TRIAL
Magistrates Court
FIRST APPEAL COURT
High Court (Queens Bench Division)
(by way of case stated on pointy of law)
Crown Court (against conviction or sentence)
FINAL APPEALS
From High Court to Court of Appeal
(criminal division and then to HoL)
Crown Court to Court of Appeal
(Criminal Division and then to HoL)
CRIMINAL APPEAL: CROWN COURT
COURT FOR INITIAL TRIAL
Crown Court
FIRST APPEAL COURT
Court of Appeal
FINAL APPEALS
House of Lords

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MAGISTRATES COURT JURISDICTION
Limited civil jurisdiction
Deals with criminal offences involving adult defendants
Issue arrests, search warrants, decide on bail
Sending for trial hearings to the Crown Court
Indictable Offence Cases, criminal offence only be tried in
Crown Court
Summary Offence Cases, criminal offence only be tried in
Crown Court
Either Way Offence, an offence, such as theft, for which the
accused will be tried by the Magistrates Court or in the Crown
Court where the defendant will be tried by jury
CROWN COURT JURISDICTION…read more

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Category of Offence Place Of trial Examples of Offences
Summary Magistrates' Court Driving without insurance,
Taking a vehicle without
consent, Common Assault
Triable either way Magistrates' Court or Theft, Assault causing actual
Crown Court bodily harm, obtaining property
by deception
Indictable Crown Court Murder, Manslaughter, Rape,
Robbery
Summary Offences:
These can only be tried by magistrates.
These are the least serious offences.
Fines range from a minimum of £200 to a maximum of £5000.
The maximum prison sentence that magistrates can impose is six months.…read more

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MAGISTRATES
Deal with the vast majority of criminal cases
All criminal cases start in the Magistrates' Court
Approx. one million cases a year are heard by Magistrates
Uphold the important principle in our legal system of trial by ones peers
Participation of ordinary people in the administration of justice is a great
strength
The other area where this is seen in the criminal justice system is in the
Crown Court where juries are used
Approx.…read more

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Lay Magistrates are appointed by the Secretary of Sate for
Constitutional Affairs and the Lord Chancellor on the advice of the
Local Advisory Committees
Lay Magistrates do not need to have any formal legal qualifications
About 1,500 Lay Magistrates are appointed every year.
They are appointed from lists put forward by the Local Advisory
Committees.
There are however some requirements which were set out by the Lord
Chancellor in 1998.…read more

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There is a twostage interview process
The first interview find out more about the candidate's personal
attributes, the panel are particularly interested in the six key qualities.
The candidate will be questioned to find out their attitudes
on various criminal justice issues such as drink driving and young
offenders.
The second interview aimed at testing the candidate's judicial aptitude,
this is achieved by a discussion of at least two case studies which are
typical of those normally heard in the Magistrates' Court.…read more

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Advantages & Disadvantages of using Lay Magistrates
Advantages
Local Knowledge Lay Magistrates come from the local area and
therefore have local knowledge which will help them make fairer
decsions in the court.
Lack of Bias Having a bench of three Magistrates avoids bias and
gives a balanced view.
Gender Balance Lay Magistrates come from a wider cross section of
society than professional judges. In particular there is greater gender
balance with 49% of Lay Magistrates being female.…read more

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Set out in the Juries Act 1974: Jurors are randomly selected by a computer holding
the names of people who are on the electoral register, aged 18 70and UK
citizens or have lived in the UK for 5 years since their 13th birthday. This is done
at the Central Summoning Bureau.
Disqualification
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 states the people who are disqualified from
sitting as a juror.
If a person has a serious conviction (5+ years prison sentence) they are
disqualified for life.…read more

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Due to those reasons the there are two types of vetting:
Police Checks and Political Vetting
Police Checks
The Criminal Records Bureau to check any recent or serious convictions or if someone is
on bail or probation.
It was established by the Court of Appeal in R v Mason (1980) that the checking of
criminal records was legal in order to see if potential jurors are eligible to serve. This type
of vetting can be carried out on any juror.…read more

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