Lay Magistrates

Qualification,Restriction on Appointment, Appointment,Interview Panels,Training, Retirement and removal Advantages and Disadvantages of Lay Magistrates

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  • Created by: Raisha
  • Created on: 28-06-12 11:56

Qualifications (six qualities)

Lay Magistrates do not need to have any formal legal qualification.There are however some requirements which are set out by the Lord Chancellor in 1998.

There are known as the six qualities;

  • Good Character
  • Understanding and Communication
  • Social Awareness
  • Maturity and Sound temperament
  • Sound Judgement
  • Commitment and Reliability
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Qualification (formal requiremnts)/Restriction on

They must have certain 'judical qualities' It is particularly important that they are able to assimilate factual information and make reasoned decison upon it. They must also take into account the resoning of others and work as a team.

Here are the Formal requirements:

  • be aged between 18-65
  • be prepared to sit for atleast 26 half days per year
  • have no serious criminal record
  • not be an undischarged bankrupt
  • not be a member of the armed forces
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About 1,500 new lay magistrates are appointed each year

The appointments are made by the Lord Chancellor.In order to decide on who to appoint.

The Lord Chancellor relies on recommendations made to him by the local advisory committeesNames are put forward to the Local advisory Committees by all sorts of organisations for example,Trade Union & political parties It is now possible for individuals to oput themselves forward to the committee.

This method of appointment is much critcised.

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Interview Panels

There is a two stage interview process.

The first interview is used to find out about the candidates personal attributes, the panel are particulary interested in six key qualities.The candidates will also be questioned on various criminal justice issues such as drink driving and youth crime.

The second interview is aimed at testing the candidates judical aptitude.this is achieved by a discussion of at least two case studies which are typically of those normally heard in the magistrates court.

Once the interviews are completed the advisory committee will submit the names of the suitable candidates of the suitable candidates to the Lord chancellor who will then appoint new Lay magistrates from this list. 

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The training of the Lay magistrates is supervised by the magistrates committee of the judical studies board. The committee has drawn up a syllabus of the topics which lay magistrates should cover in their training.

In 1998 the Magistrates New Training Initiative (MNTI 1) was set up.In 2004 this was refined by the Magistrates National Training Initiative (MNTI 2)

The training is divided into four areas of competence:

  • Managing yourself
  • Working as a member of a team
  • Making judical decisions
  • Managing judical decison making
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Retirement and removal of Lay magistrates

The retirement age is 70 but when magistrates become 70 they do not offically retire instead their names are placed on the supplemental list. This mean can no longer sit on the magistrates court.

They may resign at any time.

Can be removed on the grounds of incapacity or misbehaviour or if failing to reach standards of competence, or if failing to put in the required commitment.

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