Criminal Courts and the Lay People

New Law Specification 2016

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What are the courts of first instance (initial trial)?
Magistrates Court and the Crown Court
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What are the appeal courts?
Crown Court on a point of fact, High Court (QBD) on a point of law, Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and the Supreme Court
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What type of cases are heard in the Magistrates Court?
Issuing arrests and search warrants, bail cases, transferring indictable offences, trial for summary and either way offences and youth cases
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What are Magistrates?
Also known as the 'Justices of Peace', there are currently 29,000 of them, are unpaid volunteers, sit in a panel of 3 magistrates and 95% of criminal cases are dealt with here.
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How do I become a Magistrate?
Have certain personal qualities, are willing to take an oath of allegiance and submit to full disclosure
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What are the personal qualities needed by Magistrates?
Good character, sound understanding and communication skills, social awareness, mature, sound judgement and commitment and reliability
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How am I selected as a Magistrate?
The job is advertised, they will have a first interview, then a second interview which includes practical presentations then the Advisory Committee recommend you to the Lord Chancellor who appoints you in the name of the Queen
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Who is the training of the Magistrates overseen by?
Judicial Studies Board
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What are the training competencies for Magistrates?
Self-management, teamwork and judicial decision making
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What are the stages of training for Magistrates?
Initial training, Mentoring, Core Training, Consolidation Training and First Appraisal
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What is the role of Magistrates?
Must reflect the locality, sit for 26 half days, have a legally qualified advisor known as a clerk, sign police and arrest warrants
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What is the role of a legal clerk?
Manage cases, preparing court and paperwork, reading charges, completing bail forms and explain the law to the Magistrates
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What are the sentencing powers for lay Magistrates?
£5000 fine, 6 month in prison and 240 hours of community service
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What are the types of case heard in the Crown Court?
Indictable offences, triable either way offences, referrals for sentencing from the Magistrates and appeals form the Magistrates
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What is the procedure for a summary offence?
Charged or summoned, preliminary hearing in the Magistrates, plea is indicated, pre-trial review, trial and sentencing
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What is the procedure for an either-way offence?
Charged or summoned, preliminary hearing in the Magistrates, plea is indicated, pre-trial review, trial and sentencing
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What is the procedure for an indictable offence?
Charged or summoned, preliminary hearing in the Magistrates, plea before venue in the Crown Court, pre-trial review, trial and sentencing
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What is the jury?
Made up of 12 jurors who decided guilty or not guilty, representative of the community, legally required if summoned and must come to an unanimous decision
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How do I become a juror?
Chosen by the Jury Central Summoning Bureau from the electoral register
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What conditions do the Juries Act 1974 set out?
Must be aged 18-70 on the day of service, registered on the electoral role and have lived in the UK for at least 5 years after the age of 13
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How can I avoid becoming a juror?
Disqualification, deferral and excusal
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What is a disqualification of a jurors?
Cannot be a juror if you are on bail, following a criminal convictions with imprisonment or in the last 10 years or has mental health disorders
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What is a deferral of jurors?
You must complete your service within 12 months and is only used in exceptional circumstances e.g. operation
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What is excusal of jurors?
Be excused if you have been a juror in the past 2 years, full time member of the armed forces or surgeon, over 65 or have religious belief incompatible with jury service
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What if the jury hates me?
Can vet the jury by CRB checks and either challenge for cause or challenge for array
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What is challenges for cause?
Where individual members of the jury are challenged
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What is challenges for array?
Where the whole jury is questioned
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What is my role as a juror?
Return a verdict of guilty or not guilty within 2 hours and 10 minutes
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Are juries representative?
Women are only slightly represented, ethnic minorities are only slightly under represented and most people don't avoid jury service
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What happens at jury service?
Shown a DVD explaining the role of the jury, are then randomly selected to attend different court rooms
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What are the advantages of Magistrates?
Cost, local knowledge (Paul v DPP), availability of judges, most cases are fact dependant and the public have confidence in them
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What are the disadvantages of Magistrates?
Unrepresentative, inconsistent, case-hardened and bias and the use of the legal advisor
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What are the advantages of Jurors?
Reduced state input in criminal cases (R v Ponting), perverse decisions (R v Kronlid) and racially balanced and have positive public participation
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What are the disadvantages of Jurors?
Do not give reasons for their decisions (R v Young), not representative, lack understanding and may have negative effects on the jurors
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

What are the appeal courts?

Back

Crown Court on a point of fact, High Court (QBD) on a point of law, Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and the Supreme Court

Card 3

Front

What type of cases are heard in the Magistrates Court?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What are Magistrates?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

How do I become a Magistrate?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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