The process you have to undergo if you are going to become a lay magistrate is to apply to your local advisory committee. the committee will then recommend you to an official, that official will be the LORD CHANCELLOR. the lord chancellor will appoint a magistrate on account of the six key qualities and four formal requirements:
LAY MAGISTRATES will have to undergo two staged interview, just like a standard job interview asking about their opinions, current legal issues by the secretary of state. Also the candidates ability to act as a judge and assessed on case studies and questions relating to certain case scenarios.
The second stage of the interview the candidates who are successful will be invited back and will have a judicial attitude test.
KEY QUALITIES AND FORMAL REQUIREMENTS FOR MAGISTRA
THE SIX KEY QUALITIES AS SET OUT BY LORD CHANCELLOR HIMSELF ARE:
- Good Communication
- Social Awareness
- Reliability and Commitment
- Sound Judgement + Sound Temperament
- Good Character.
THE FOUR FORMAL REQUIREMENTS ARE:
- No Criminal Record
- Aged Between 18-65 On Appointment
- Cannot Be A Undischarged Bankrupt
- Cannot Be A Member Of the Armed Forces
The JUDICIAL STUDIES is in charge of training the new magistrates. The Magistrates are trained by local means such as the CLERK of that Court or weekend courses at local universities.
Under the new initiative the magistrates must develop these skills:
1:- how legal procedures should be carried out, or example, how bail applications should be done and how sentencing takes place. this will aid them in making judicial decisions in the near future.
2:- Managing yourself, preparing for court, conduct in court, on going learning.
3:- Working as a member of a team, making decisions as part of a team.
4:- Observing courts, by shadowing experience lay magistrates and taking on what they see in the court rooms.
STRUCTURE OF THE TRAINING
The training is split up into three parts.
- The first part is the INITIAL INTRODUCTORY TRAINING: This is understanding how the bench works, how the court works and the roles of people who work in a court.
- The second part is the CORE TRAINING: This is the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge needed by a MAGISTRATE.
- The third part is the ACTIVITIES: Where lay magistrates observe courts, visit prisons and probation offices.
ROLES AND POWERS
lay magistrates play by far the largest role in the criminal justice system, lay magistrates sit in a panel of 2 or 3 and hear court cases. Another name for lay magistrates is, JUSTICE OF THE PEACE.
there are about 29000 lay magistrates currently. lay magistrates deal with all summary cases and any tri-able either way cases where trial by jury has been declined.
lay magistrates actupon facts presented to them. lay magistrates are trained and guided on the point of law by the clerk. they hear 97% of all criminal cases and deal with 3% of initial hearings such as remand hearing, bail application, committal and adminstrative hearing.
lay magistrates issue warrants of arrest, decide sentencing or send the case to the crown court. lay magistrates sit in CROWN COURT and hear appeals. they also decide guilty or innocence. magistrates try most offences committed by young offenders aged 10-17 in the youth court.
ADVANTAGES OF MAGISTRATES
LAY MAGISTRATES come from a local area where they will have local knowledge and use this to their advantage in making the final decision towards the case.
Having a bench of three magistrates avoids bias and gives a balanced view.
Lay magistrates come from a wider cross section of society than professional judges.
In particular there is a great gender balance of 44% of lay magistrates being female.
Lay magistrates get paid expenses only, saving the tax payers money.
LAY MAGISTRATES act as a filter, meaning only the most serious cases are heard in the CROWN COURT.
DISADVANTAGES OF MAGISTRATES
conviction routes in the magistrates are much higher than crown court.
the middle class are over repersented on the bench, where as, far too few working class people have the time to become a lay magistrates.
sentences vary greatly between different magistrates courts, and even different lay magistrates in the same court.
there are also inconsistancies in the granting of bail.
lay magistrates have little legal knowledge and rely too much on the clerk of the court.