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Disadvantages of Magistrates
Name Explanation Case
In different areas, people are giving 20% of people in Teesside were given
Inconsistency different sentences for committing the
same crime. This is unfair.
immediate custody compared to 41% in
of sentencing
Only there to help the Magistrates with R v Birmingham ­ The Clerk retired with
Reliance on specific legal terms because they are
not legally qualified. The Clerk CANNOT
the Magistrates although this is
Clerk influence the Magistrates in anyway.
They also have immunity from suit such
like the Magistrates and deal with
administrative matters.
Magistrates will not be appointed if they 2/3 are Conservative as they give
Political support the BNP as they may be biased
towards ethnic minorities. There is no
harsher sentencing whereas ¼ support
affiliation way to prove that someone supports the
Conviction rates are much higher as R v Bingham ­ a motorist was convicted
Prosecution they are too ready to believe the
police. Part of the training is aimed at
of speeding but his conviction was
quashed by the High Court because the
bias eliminating this. 20% of people are
acquitted in the Magistrates Courts
compared to 60% that pleaded guilty at
only evidence given was provided by J
and Policeman and both account of
evidence contradicted eachother.
the Crown Court.…read more

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Selection of
Step Explanation Further information
One - satisfaction Magistrates
Must satisfy 6 key qualities
recommended by the Lord Chancellor.
On behalf of the Queen, the Lord
Chancellor appoints approximately
- Good character 1500 new Magistrates per year.
- Good understanding &
- Maturity and sound temperament
- Social awareness
- Sound judgement
- Commitment and reliability
Two ­ age restrictions Must be aged between 18-65 but can Lucy Tate and Gareth Derbyshire are
continue until 70 years old. Only 4% of the youngest appointed Magistrates
Magistrates are under the age of 40 but being only 19 and 20
most are over 27.
Three ­ good health Magistrates can be blind but not deaf In 2010, there was a programme to
as deaf people can only judge on shut 103 Magistrates' Courts.
appearances. Mark Turnbill was the first blind chair
Four ­ Swear an oath There was once a requirement that Key qualities ask for reliability and
stated that all Magistrates had to be commitment so the Magistrates are
British but now they must be prepared expected to serve 26 half days per
to swear an oath of allegiance to the year.
Five ­ Local knowledge It was required that Magistrates had to Paul v DPP (2010) ­ D convicted of
live within 15 miles of the court but kerb-crawling due to Magistrates'
now they just have to live or work in knowledge.
the area.
Six - conclusion Magistrates will not be appoint if they Will not be disqualified if it was a
have serious convictions. minor motoring offence.…read more

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- Competency in 4 areas.
- Supervised by Judicial Studies Board ­ in 1998
MNTI then MNTI2 in 2004. Covers basic law, rules
of evidence and principles of sentencing.
- 3 days training
- First part ­ organisation of the bench and admin
of court.
- Second part ­ taught and develop new skills.
- Third part ­ activities such as probation and
prison visits and court sittings.
- After 3 days ­ given mentors, training +
- Mentors = shadow exp. Mag. and complete
detailed log of progress.
- Training ­ delivered locally by JSB and Clerks.
- During 2 years, fail to meet requirements ­ extra
training. Still fail? Name given to LC by LAC to
have them removed.
- Checked every 3 years, then after 2 given first
appraisal of competences.…read more

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Duties of
Bench = chair + 2 wingers.
Chair is most exp.
Can work alone ­ issue warrants for arrest.
Hear preliminary hearings, D's plea and consider legal
Two aid and bail.
Sole jurisdiction of summary cases + powers.
Also hear appeals at the Crown Court.
Four Sit with a jury and hear appeals against convict.
Here SOME either way offences.
Five If D = guilty, mode of trial hearing at Mag Court to
determine where it will be heard.
Civil proceedings
Six Specially trained Mag in family + youth cases = kids 10-
Can ask an on-hand advisor for help but cannot be
Seven influenced by the Clerk.
Must pay attention to all the evidence + no bias.
Eight R v Weston-super-Mare ­ chair fell asleep.
29 Magistrates sacked in 2010/11 for conduct ranging
Conclusion from assisting passport fraud to associations with a sex
Magistrates usually retire at 70.…read more

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Composition of the
One ­ "middle-aged, middle class,
Referred to as "middle-aged..."
LC seeks to ensure the bench broadly reflects
middle-minded..." the community it serves.
Two - Age Between 18-65
4% under 40, most over 27.
Lucy and Gareth.
Three ­ work positions and Most are from pro or managerial positions. 40%
not in full-time work.
categories. No more than 15% on bench from 11 broad
Four ­ ethnic minorities Ethnic minorities play a big part ­ 7% Mag out
of 7.9% of population = good.
Advertise in Asian Times and Muslim news for
Five ­ good health Blind but not deaf ­ Mark Turnbill
Six ­ gender split 50/50 gender split
Legal system predominately male.
Seven ­ political affiliation 2/3 are Conservative = harsher.
¼ are Labour
Can't support BNP ­ biased.…read more


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