Magistrates: Initial Trial- Summary Offences or Either way offence. Deal with arrest and search warrants, bail, sending for trial hearings.Youth Court.
Crown Court: Initial Trial- Either way offence or Indictable offence.
Court of Appeal: Criminal Division- Court of Appeal will allow appeal and possibly new trial if it considers the conviction unsafe.
Supreme Court: Made on if law is public importance.
How Magistrates Qualify
- No legal Qualifications
- 18-65 yrs
- Live in the Local Area
- lived in the uk from age 13 from at least 5 years
- any nationality
- declare convictions- any minor convictions such as speeding ticket fine
- 6 characteristics: Social awareness, Good Communication, Honesty, Have Mature and Sound Temperament, sound judgement Commitment and reliabiliy.
- Can't be a magistrate if you are in a job such as the armed forces or the police might be a conflict of interest. Also if family member is in such position.
Appointment of Magistrates
- Advertisement of position in Local area (both at court+online)
- Local awareness days
- Local advisory committee select for interviews
- 1st interview is checking for the personal qualities
- 2nd interview senario based and background checks
- Local advisory committee make reccomendations to the Lord chancellor who appoints on behalf of the Queen.
Training of Magistrates
- Preliminary training: visits to prisons, reading, youth offenders, probation service and court observations.
- Core training: Area of law
- Shadow experienced magistrate
- mentor for 12-18 months
- regular progress checks
- refresher training- any changes in the law or sentences
- specialist training after 2 years- in youth or family branch.
How Jurors qualify
- 18-69 years old
- lived in the uk after 13 yrs old for at least five years.
- any nationality
- Can't do it if been convicted of any sentence in the past 5 years
- Can't do it if they have been convicted of a sentence over 10 years
- Can't do it if for mental health issues or are on bail.
Deferal: Delay jury service but have to do it in 12 months
- may have had a pre booked holiday, medical appointment or exam.
Excusal: Do not have to do Jury service
- may be in a particular job such as surgeon or doctor where you cannot be replaced
Discretionary refusal: Can refuse to do it
- over 65 yrs
- In the armed forces
- Done jury service in the past 2 years.
Role of Jurors
- Arrive at court
- Show ID (prove they are whom they say they are)
- shown video on what will happen
- wait to be called
- generally 15 jurors will be called to each case- only 12 chosen for the case, gives leway to deselect any people.
- 12 chosen are sworn in (by oath or affirmation)
- Hear evidence
- Ask questions and make notes
- Judge will summarise the case
- Jurors go to a private room to discuss evidence and make a verdict
- Unanimous decision
- Go back into court- The chair person of the group will announce the verdict
- Judge will dismiss the jury and announce sentencing.
Advantages of using lay people
- Magistrates give the public a role- balance between the state
- Local knowledge- DPP
- Private room make decision- No outside influence
- Jurors do not give ratio decidendi- may be difficult decision but they do not need to explain it
- They are given legal advise on points of law
- Representative of society
- 12 jurors- range of opinion
- Magistrates have training/expertise
Disadvantages of using Lay people
- Private room- Re Steven Young- Do not know what happens inside the room
- Lack of legal knowledge
- Jurors may not want to be there
- Might be bias within the group- dominance
- Magistrates- arguably not representative: they are volunteers, so people who can afford to not be paid to work and can afford the time
- Risk of influence from a legal adviser
- Jurors may find cases distressing
- Magistrates might become case hardened- may make assumptions.