- 29,000 lay magistrates/Justices of the Peace sitting as voluntary part time judges in MC
- Sit 2 hear cases as bench of 2/3 Magistrates (M) (B4 1996 could be up2 7)
- Single M sitting on own = limited powers, can issue search warrants, warrants 4 arrest, conduct EAH
- under S.16(3) of the Justices of the Peace Act 1979 District Judges (DJ) have same power as bench of lay M. (same duties)
History of Magistracy:
- Dates back 2 12th century, 1195 Richard I appointed 'keepers of the peace'
- Don't have 2 have any qualifications in law, just some requirements 2 their character. Lord Chancellor set out 6 key qualities which candidates should have in 1998: # Good Character # Understanding + Communication # Social Awareness # Maturity + Sound Temperament # Sound Judgement # Commitment + Reliability
- Must have certain 'judicial' qualities, important they are able 2 assimilate factual information, make reasoned decision upon it , take account of reasoning of others + work as a team
- Formal requirements : --> must be aged 18-65 on appointment (rare 4 person ↓27 2 be considered- not enough experience, can sit until 70) -->Up 2 2003, had 2 live within 15 miles of commission are but Courts Act abolished commission areas. Country divided in2 local justice areas specified by Lord Chancellor + M expected 2 live/work within/near local justice area where they are allocated --> must be prepared 2 commit themselves 2 sitting 26 1/2 days annually.
- Restrictions on appointment: some people not eligible/disqualified 2 be appointed …