Law : lay people

  • Created by: Anne
  • Created on: 07-05-12 10:48

The integration of lay people into the English legal system has been very successful because, it involves people with local knowledge; magistrates come from a wide range of careers not just a legal background and the cost of the process is less expensive.

Magistrates are also known as Justices of Peace (JPs). There are approximately 29,000 Lay Magistrates in England and Wales. There is no formal age requirement, except that applicants must be a minimum of 18 years old to apply. Magistrates retire from the bench at the age of 70, and five years’ service is normally expected before retirement. This means that anyone aged over 65 is unlikely to be appointed. It is a voluntary activity, so people can put themselves forward, or be nominated by friends and family.Magistrates do not need to have any formal legal qualifications. There are however some requirements known as the six key qualities, that every applicants should possess:good character;understanding and communication; social awareness; maturity and sound temperament; sound judgement; commitment and reliability.

If a person volunteers, he will have to complete an application form which must show that the basic qualifications to serve as a magistrate are fulfilled. Once the form is submitted, it is checked to make sure that he is eligible to apply. If he is


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