Lay people are local members of a community who are randomly selected to hear both criminal and civil court cases using the electoral voting register. They usually hear the majority of criminal cases. They have no knowledge or legal qualifications of the law, however there are some formal requirements needed to become a lay person. Lay magistrates and juries are required to; •
Be between the ages of 18 to 65,
Have no criminal records
Not be a member of the armed forces.
be on the electoral roll (registered to vote)
Have lived in the UK for at least five years since the age of 13. During cases in the magistrate’s court, a panel of 3 lay magistrates are assisted by a legally qualified clerk to help advise them on the points of law and sentencing powers. There are no juries in the magistrate’s court however for indictable trials in the crown court, it will be heard by 12 juries who will listen to evidence provided and decide whether a person is guilty or innocent. There have been suggestions that the use of lay persons in the English legal system should be abolished as the legal system depends too much on lay people. I will be exploring the advantages and disadvantages of the use of lay persons in the English legal system to form a conclusion on whether the use of lay persons should be abolished or not. To do this I will be using a colour code theme to highlight the advantages and disadvantages. GREEN = ADVANTAGES
RED = DISADVANTAGES
Ordinary members of community serve as lay magistrates
By using ordinary members in the community, it allows them to take part in the justice system. This will ensure that the justice system is based on moral and social values, helping to promote the public’s confidence in the justice system. Using ordinary members of the community also ensures that there is a balanced amount of representation of women and men. According to the BBC news, there are only 7% of females in the high courts compared to 49% of...
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