Compare and Contrast the Role of Lay Personell

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  • Topic: Law, Judge, Solicitor
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Compare and contrast the role of and function of judges, lawyers and lay people within the English courts

Lay people are individuals with no legal training from a variety of backgrounds which is said to be used to promote an equal society. The role of Magistrates and Jurors are similar in ways of characteristics needed; for example both must be aged 18-70 and those who are in the police or have previous criminal convictions are ruled out. The selection process is however very different, the Lord Chancellor will appoint lay magistrates on behalf of the queen whereas jurors are selected by an electoral register for the area in which the court is situated and is done by a computer at the Central Summoning Bureau. Lay Magistrates are unpaid, part time volunteers whereas jurors are also unpaid but may be unwilling however failure to attend can result in prosecution or a fine. Magistrates can claim a small allowance and compensation for lost earnings. Both parties make their decision based on facts, such as guilt or innocence in trials whereby the difference is that Magistrates can sentence the defendant whereas jurors cannot. Both are used in the right for a ''trial by our peers'', ordinary people with experience of real life situations. Jurors will serve for a period of usually two weeks as apposed to Magistrates who will serve part time for different periods of time. Although lay magistrates and district judges do a very similar job there are many differences between how they work, their qualifications and employment. Lay magistrates, otherwise known as Justice of the Peace sit in magistrate's courts, generally in groups of three, whereas judges usually sit alone. 1999 there were 90, of whom about 20% were women, whereas there are an almost equal number of men and women magistrates, showing that judges are not a mirror image of trial by ones peers such as lay people. Judges are members of the professional judiciary who are legally qualified and salaried, working...
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