Magistrates and Jurors

These are revision notes on Magistrates and Jurors qualification, selection etc.  and the advantages and disadavantages of them at AS level AQA for Unit 1 exam.

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  • Created on: 04-10-14 15:56
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Basics =
- Known as Justices of the peace.
- Just fewer than 29,000 lay magistrates in England and Wales.
-Part time but has to give a commitment of 26 and a half days per year.
Qualifications and eligibility to be a Magistrate.
Six general personal qualities that applicants should possess.
- To be of good character.
-To have understanding and communication.
-To have social awareness.
-To be mature and of sound temperament.
-Being of sound judgement.
-Having commitment and reliability.
The second requirement is the willingness to take the Oath of Allegiance. British nationality
is not a requirement ­ can not be seeking asylum. Certain professions or occupations are
ineligible because they may not be able to be impartial. This may also apply to the applicants
spouse or partner.
The third requirement is that the applicant must enclose any convictions, however minor.
The applicant also has to enclose any criminal or civil orders such as details of their divorce.
The applicant also has to enclose any convictions their spouse has.
There is no formal age requirement however they must be over 18 and under 70. Five years
service is normally expected before retirement so it is unlikely anyone over the ages of 65
will be appointed.
· Advertisement is placed in the local area where the need has arisen.
· The standard application form is available from the Ministry of Justice which includes
a DVD in the pack,
· Once the application form has been submitted and the applicant is checked to see if
they are eligible they are invited to a first interview by the Advisory Committee which
consists of local people including some magistrates.

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There is then a second interview (if the first interview is successful) which would
include examples of cases magistrates deal with which get discussed.
· If the second interview is successful, the applicant gets appointed by the Secretary
of State and Lord Chancellor on behalf of and in the name of the Queen.
Training of Magistrates.
· Supervised by the Judicial Studies Board.
· It is carried out by the clerk of the court.…read more

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To announce the decision to the Court (done by the chairman)
- To sign police warrants.
- To impose sentences of up to 6 months and fines of up to £5000.
- To send serious cases to the Crown Court.
- To decide on bail or custody.
- Magistrates can also sit alongside Judges in the Crown Court when considering appeals
against convictions or sentence.
Advantages of using Magistrates.
- Cost = Magistrates are unpaid apart from their expenses.…read more

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Basics =
- Role is to decide based on the evidence presented whether a defendant is guilty or not
- Made up of 12 jurors.
-Should be a unanimous decision but can be reduces to 11:1 or 10:2.
- 500,000 people are summoned every year.
- Normally for a period of two weeks depending on the trial.
-Important civic duty.
Qualification =
Eligibility: Aged 18/ under 70 on the day on which the jury service is due to start.…read more

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Jury vetting and challenges.
Rule about jury selection: Jurors should be selected at random from the jurors in waiting.
The Juries Disqualification Act identifies those who are disqualified or ineligible. The
prosecution can only challenge a jury member by a request to stand by or challenge for a
Two types of jury vetting allowed: CRB check and Authorized Jury check which involves a CRB
check, Special Branch Records check and sometimes a Security Services Check.…read more

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Public confidence: The right to be tried by peers.
Open system of Justice: Public are involved.
Impartiality: Randomly selected and is a cross section of society (not case-hardened.
Juries are racially balanced: Representative/ less discrimination.
Disadvantages of using jurors.
Not truly representative: Those ineligible, excused or deferred.
Lack of ability to do the job: Jurors may not understand the nature of the proceedings in
criminal trials.…read more


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