Chapter 13: Lay people: lay magistrates (13.1 Lay Magistrates (13.1.1…
Chapter 13: Lay people: lay magistrates
13.1 Lay Magistrates
They have to have 6 key qualities:
Understanding and communication
Maturity and sound temperment
Commitment and reliability
At least 26 half days a year - lay magistrates are only paid expenses.
13.1.4 Restrictions on appointment
This includes people with a serious criminal conviction, other people that may disqualified are undischarged bankers and member of the forces and those whose work wouldn't work with being a magistrate.
These are unpaid, part-time judges who have no legal qualifications and hear cases in the Magistrates Court.
13.2.1 Local advisory committees
The membership of the committees must be published. the members tend to be current of ex lord justices or peace. the committees should have a maximum of twelve people and half should retire every three years.
13.2.2 Recruitment of magistrates
Advertisements are used to try and encourage as wide a range of potential candidates as possible. Local newspapers and buses are some of the forms of advertisement.
There is normally a two stage interview process which starts with the panel finding out more about the candidates personal attributes in particular looking for the six key qualities. The second part is testing the candidates judicial aptitude which is done with the discussion of two case studies.
13.4 The role and powers of magistrates
13.4.1 Youth Court
10-17 years old. The panel usually includes one man and one woman.
13.4.2 Family Court
Specially trained lay magistrates sit in the family court and hear cases on family issues such as maintenance and custody.
These magistrates also sit in the crown court to hear appeals from the magistrates.
13.3 Composition of the bench today
'Middle-class, middle-aged and middle-minded'
13.5 Training of lay magistrates
13.5.1 New magistrates
Initial introductory training
Covers matters such as understanding the organisation of the bench and the administration of the court and the roles and responsibilities involved.
Acquire the skills knowledge and understanding required of a competent magistrate.
Observations of court sittings and visits to establishments such as prison or a probation office.
13.5.2 Training sessions
Delivered by justice clerks however youth court and family court are delivered nationally. New magistrate sit as a winger on cases with an experienced magistrate.
Within the first two years of being a new magistrate some of the trials will be mentored. When the new magistrate is ready there will be an appraisal.
13.6 The magistrates' clerk
They are the legal adviser as the magistrates aren't legally trained.