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Lay persons
This refers to members of the public who have a role in the legal system but are not specifically
qualified in the law
Lay people work in the crown court as members of a jury, or in the Magistrates' Court as Magistrates.


The jury

Qualification and selection ­…

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The prosecution can challenge a juror `for cause' e.g. if they suspect that they are ineligible,
disqualified or biased. There has to be a specific reason
Some argue that vetting may be beneficial where there are concerns about national security
or corruption
Others think that there is a risk of…

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Public participation ­ The jury system represents the right of a defendant to be tried by his/her
peers, so it is seen as a vital part of our democracy. This, therefore, reinforces the idea that the legal
system is serving society as a whole and should help to maintain confidence…

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Lay magistrates

Selection and appointment

There are around 20,000 magistrates in the UK.
They are only paid expenses.
They normally sit on a bench of 3.
They hear around 95% of criminal cases (around 1,000,000 per year)
They work part time and are expected to work a minimum of 26…

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Training of magistrates

Training is governed by the Judicial Studies Board, is provided through regional courts and is
delivered by the Justices Clerk.

Training includes:
Reading necessary material
3 court observations
A visit to the prison and probation service

They have further training after one year of service.
Each magistrate…

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Advantages of Magistrates ­

Cost ­ Only expenses are paid ­ not wages so this produces a saving. E.g. a judges salary is likely to
be over £90,000 per year. The overall saving is estimated to be around £100 million per year.

Local knowledge ­ Magistrates will work in their…

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Disadvantages of Magistrates ­

Unrepresentative of society ­ Despite efforts to appeal to a wider range of social groups,
Magistrates are still disproportionately white, middle aged and middle class.
For example, only 5% of Magistrates are under 40
2/3rds are from the managerial or professional classes, compared to 1/3rds of…

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