Magistrates

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  • Created by: Laura
  • Created on: 17-05-13 16:04
  • The role of a Magistrate or JUSTICE OF THE PEACE was established with the JUSICE OF PEACE ACT 1361
  • They are LAY people and volunteer to hear cases in the Magistrates' Court
  • There are also professional judges known as DISTRICT JUDGES who sit alone in Magistrates' Courts who are considered in the unit on the judiciary
  • Volunteering as a Magistrate is seen as a way of giving something back to the community and gaining valuable skills
  • Today, magistrates' powers and functions are governed by the JUSTICE OF THE PEACE ACT 1997 and COURTS ACT 2003
  • Magistrates' must be able to commit at least 26 half-days per year to sit in court
  • An employer is required by law to allow reasonable time off work for an employee's service as a Magistrate
  • Though this time off does not have to be paid, many employees will allow paid time off
  • if a Magistrate suffers loss of earnings, they can claim a set rate for this loss
  • Expenses are also paid for travel and subsistence
  • There are approximately 30,000 lay magistrates'
  • Cases in the magistrates' courts are usually heard by a panel of three Magistrates called a BENCH supported by a legally qualified JUSTICE CLERK and LEGAL ADVISOR

    APPOINTMENT OF MAGISTRATES

  • Appointed from the the age of 18
  • Must retire at the age of 70, though generally won't be appointed if over 65
  • Appointed by The Lord Chancellor on behalf of the Crown assisted by Local Advisory committees who vet and recommend suitable candidates
  • Individuals can now apple to become a Magistrate as well as being approached by the advisory committee. Advertisements are published inviting applications
  • Selection is based on merit
  • Applications welcome from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation
  • Should live within 15 miles of the Bench's area
  • No legal or academic qualifications required to be a Magistrate and full training is provided
  • Certain individuals are excluded from appointment such as police officers and traffic wardens

    CRIMINAL JURISDICTION

  • Magistrates play an important role in the criminal justice system, dealing with approximately 95% of cases
  • They hear summary and some triable either way offences
  • Their role is…

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