Criminal Courts and Lay People - Revision Past Exam Questions Knowledge and Understanding: Outline both of the following the trial and appeal courts that can hear adult criminal cases and the types of cases dealt with by these courts Discuss the process of qualification, selection and appointment of lay magistrates Discuss the qualifications for appointment as a lay magistrate and briefly explain the training undertaken by a lay magistrate after appointment Explain the work of lay magistrates in criminal cases Describe the role of lay magistrates when dealing with an either-way offence Describe how jurors qualify and are selected for jury service
Explain the role of jurors in a Crown Court trial Evaluation: Discuss advantages of using lay persons (juries and lay magistrates) in criminal courts Discuss disadvantages of using lay persons (juries and lay magistrates) in criminal courts Discuss the disadvantages of either jurors or lay magistrates Discuss the advantages of either lay magistrates or jurors
Outline both of the following the trial and appeal courts that can hear adult criminal cases and the types of cases dealt with by these courts All of the following: Outline of trial and appeal courts: Magistrates Courts and Crown Courts as trial courts Crown Court, Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and Supreme Court as appeal courts Outline of types of cases dealt with: Summary offences Either way offences
Indictable only offences Trial Courts for Adult Criminal Cases Magistrates Court Case heard by: District Judge; or 3 Magistrates assisted by a legal advisor Crown Court Case hear by: Jury of 12 lay people who decide on facts and verdict of guilty/not guilty Judge who directs jury on issues of law and carries out sentencing
Appeals for cases from the Magistrates Court Court for Initial Trial Magistrates Court *Crown Court (against conviction or sentence) Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) Supreme Court Appeals for cases from the Crown Court
Court for Initial Trial Crown Court Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) Supreme Court Three different classes of Criminal Offence: Summary offences minor offences can only be tried in Magistrates Court e.g. assault Either way offences may be tried in either Magistrates Court or Crown Court e.g. theft Indictable offences serious offences that can only be tried in a
Crown Court e.g. murder Discuss the process of qualification, selection and appointment of lay magistrates Need all 3 of the following: Qualification Selection Appointment Qualifications
No special qualifications Aged between 18 and 65 (have to retire at 70 and expected to serve at least 5 years) Courts Act 2003 expected to live or work within or near the local justice area to which they are allocated Must be willing to take Oath of Allegiance Must be able to sit for at least 26 half days a year Candidates make formal application either in response to an advert or by making an enquiry through the Government website In recent years, a number of younger magistrates have been appointed including a 21 year old DJ in Horsham and a 19 year old law student in Pontefract, though majority are much older. Disqualified groups: police officers, traffic wardens, probation officers, and members
of their immediate families; members of armed forces, people with certain criminal convictions, and undischarged bankrupts Qualifications Key personal Qualities 1. Good character personal integrity, keeping confidences, respect and trust of others 2. Understanding and communication understand documents, identify facts, follow evidence, concentrate for long periods 3. Social awareness appreciation and acceptance of the rule of law, respect for people from different ethnic, cultural or social backgrounds, understanding of local community 4. Maturity and sound temperament awareness and understanding of people, sense of fairness, humanity, courteousness
5. Sound judgement - think logically, weigh arguments, come to sound decisions, open mind, objective, recognising and controlling prejudices 6. Commitment and reliability committed to serving the community, making time commitments, willing to undergo training, in sufficiently good health, have support of family and employer Selection Need to show the key personal qualities in application and interview Applicants complete a standard application form Local Advisory Committee arranges interviews for shortlisted candidates after references have been checked. There are 2 interviews:
1st examines candidates character 2nd comprises sentencing and trial exercises assesses candidates judgement Appointment Justices and Peace Act 1997, as amended by Courts Act 2003 Lay Magistrates are appointed by the Lord Chancellor on the advice of county local advisory committees After interviews potential appointees reviewed by the local advisory committee to ensure that a balanced bench can be achieved (age, gender, ethnic background, occupation) Background checks are carried out
Committee submits recommendations to Lord Chancellor who usually accepts them and makes the appointment Final stage swearing in of new magistrates by a senior circuit judge On appointment, all magistrates receive initial training before sitting in court and ongoing training for the first 18 months Discuss the qualifications for appointment as a lay magistrate and briefly explain the training undertaken by a lay magistrate after appointment Qualifications: Age Key personal qualities
Disqualified/ineligible groups Training: Judicial Studies Board and Court Clerk Initial Compulsory Training Initial Mentoring On-going training and appraisal
Qualifications No special qualifications Aged between 18 and 65 (have to retire at 70 and expected to serve at least 5 years) Courts Act 2003 expected to live or work within or near the local justice area to which they are allocated Must be willing to take Oath of Allegiance Must be able to sit for at least 26 half days a year Candidates make formal application either in response to an advert or by making an enquiry through the Government website
In recent years, a number of younger magistrates have been appointed including a 21 year old DJ in Horsham and a 19 year old law student in Pontefract, though majority are much older. Disqualified groups: police officers, traffic wardens, probation officers, and members of their immediate families; members of armed forces, people with certain criminal convictions, and undischarged bankrupts Qualifications Key personal Qualities 1. Good character personal integrity, keeping confidences, respect and trust of others 2. Understanding and communication understand documents, identify facts, follow evidence, concentrate for long periods 3. Social awareness appreciation and acceptance of the rule of law, respect for people
from different ethnic, cultural or social backgrounds, understanding of local community 4. Maturity and sound temperament awareness and understanding of people, sense of fairness, humanity, courteousness 5. Sound judgement - think logically, weigh arguments, come to sound decisions, open mind, objective, recognising and controlling prejudices 6. Commitment and reliability committed to serving the community, making time commitments, willing to undergo training, in sufficiently good health, have support of family and employer Initial Training Organised by Judicial Studies Board Carried out locally often by Court Clerk
On appointment, all magistrates receive initial compulsory training before sitting in court intensive induction course to familiarise them with court procedures and theory and practice of sentencing Training is based on competencies skills magistrates need to develop: Managing yourself preparing for court, conduct in court, ongoing learning Working as a member of a team team aspect of decision making in MC Making judicial decisions impartial and structured decision-making Ongoing Training
1. Initial Training as per previous slide. Before sitting in court. Then new magistrate sits with 2 experienced magistrates 2. Mentoring specially trained experienced magistrates act as mentors and support the core training magistrates receive in their first year 3. Core Training further training during the first year 4. Consolidation Training at end of first year builds on learning from court sittings and core training 5. First Appraisal 12-18 months after appointment if successful magistrate is deemed to be fully competent Magistrates in Youth Court or Family Court receive additional training Chairperson training in managing judicial decision-making focuses on working
with the clerk, managing the court and ensuring effective, impartial decision-making Other Combinations Could also be any combinations of: Qualification Selection Appointment
Training Explain the work of lay magistrates in criminal cases At least 3 of: Initial matters - bail and custody, granting/extending Legal Representation orders Trial of summary/either way offences hear evidence, decide guilt/innocence, decide sentence. Taking advice of legal advisor Sending serious cases (indictable or either way offences) to Crown Court for trial or sentence (either way offences) Other Functions - Sit on appeals in Crown Court, issue search or arrest
warrants, Youth Court Initial Matters Hear applications for bail under Bail Act 1976 Have the power to grant or extend Legal Representation Orders Trial of Summary and Either Way Offences Try 97% of all criminal cases Sit as a bench of 3 Magistrates Hear evidence from defence and prosecution Decide guilt or innocence decide the facts and interpret the law
Either a unanimous or majority decision Decide on the sentence Maximum term of imprisonment 6 months for a single offence, 12 months for multiple offences Maximum fine - 5000 Advised on points of law and their sentencing powers by legally qualified legal advisors Sending Serious Cases to Crown Court Deal with preliminary matters for Indictable offences and Either Way Offences which are to be sent to the Crown Court Commit all indictable cases and many either way cases for trial in CC
Can send Either Way Offences to Crown Court for sentence if they feel sentencing powers are inadequate Other Functions Issue search and arrest warrants Authorise extension of custody to a maximum of 96 hours Sit on appeals in the Crown Court with a Circuit Judge Youth Court staffed by magistrates must receive additional specialist training Describe the role of lay magistrates when dealing with an either-way offence
All 3 of: Pre-trial Trial as summary offence Post-trial deciding sentence with reference to maximum sentencing powers, committing case to Crown Court for sentence if their powers are insufficient Pre-Trial All either-way cases start in the Magistrates Court Defendant (D) gives an indication of how he will plea called a plea before venue If D pleads guilty: Sentenced at the Magistrates Court; or Magistrates send case to the Crown Court for sentencing if they feel their sentencing powers are insufficient
If D pleads not-guilty, decision made about whether the case is heard in the MC or CC. Magistrates decide if they have jurisdiction (whether it is the type of case it would be appropriate for them to try) D chooses which court they want to be tried in If Magistrates decide they dont have jurisdiction, case is sent to CC for trial If D chooses CC, case is sent to CC for trial If both Magistrates and D choose to have case heard in Magistrates court, it is heard like a summary offence Either a trial date will be fixed there and then, or else the case will be adjourned for a period of weeks for a pre-trial review Pre-trial review (if there is one) magistrates fix a date for the trial taking into account the availability of the witnesses and likely length of the trial
If case is adjourned for any reason, magistrates make a decision on bail or custody Magistrates make a decision on funding for D Trial as a Summary Offence Sit as a bench of 3 Magistrates Hear evidence from defence and prosecution Decide guilt or innocence decide the facts and interpret the law Either a unanimous or majority decision Advised on points of law and their sentencing powers by legally qualified legal advisors Post Trial
Decide on the sentence Maximum term of imprisonment 6 months for a single offence, 12 months for multiple offences Maximum fine - 5000 Can commit to Crown Court for sentence if they feel their sentencing powers are insufficient Describe how jurors qualify and are selected for jury service Need all 3 of the following parts: Qualification Reasons for not qualifying
Selection (include briefly challenging and vetting) Qualifications Juries Act 1974, as amended by Criminal Justice Act 1988 Between 18 and 70 On the electoral register Resident in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for at least 5 years since the age of 13 Reasons for Not Qualifying Exclusions Disqualification Criminal Justice Act 2003:
Custodial or community sentence within the last 10 years Imprisonment for 5/more years life-time disqualification On bail Ineligibility Criminal Justice Act 2003 those suffering from a mental illness who are resident in hospital or have regular treatments by medical practitioner Excusals as of right 65-70. Clergymen, lawyers, police officers, judges can all be jurors Excusals at the courts discretion
Limited understanding of English, students doing public examinations, parents with childcare commitments or problems, people with prior commitments e.g. booked holidays may be excused Likely to be deferred rather than cancelled Full-time members of armed forces may be excused if commanding officer certifies that their absence from duty would be prejudicial to efficiency of service Those who have served in the last 2 years MPs Selection Jury Summoning Officer arranges for potential jurors names to be picked at random from the electoral register by the Jury Central Summoning Bureau
At court, 20 are chosen randomly by the Jury Usher for a particular trial they are the jury in waiting In court - they are told the name of D and asked if they know him/her if they do they leave the courtroom and return to the jury pool to be used for another trial Final random selection process takes place and 12 jurors selected for a jury and sworn in Challenging and Vetting Challenging 1. Stand by for the Crown only used to remove a manifestly unsuitable juror
2. For Cause when a juror is personally known by D. 3. Challenge to the array challenge the whole jury panel on the grounds that the Summoning Officer is biased or has acted improperly. Vetting Conducted by Prosecution with the written permission of the Attorney General Check list of potential jurors to see if anyone appears unsuitable Exceptional circumstances e.g. cases involving terrorism, the Official Secrets Acts and professional criminals Explain the role of jurors in a Crown Court trial
Need all 4 of: General role During the hearing Judges summing up Deliberation General Role
Used in all Crown Court cases where D pleads not guilty Weigh up the evidence and decide what the true facts of the case are Judge directs them as to what the relevant law is and they must apply that law to the facts that they have found and reach a verdict Partnership Judge acts as master of the law and jury acts as master of the facts. Jury has sole responsibility for determining guilt During the Hearing Listen to evidence of prosecution and defence Listen to cross examination of witnesses Listen to summing up of prosecution and defence at the end of the
evidence May take notes. Have the opportunity to question witnesses through the judge Judges Summing Up At the end of the case judge summarises the evidence and directs the jury on relevant legal issues. In complicated cases, judge also provides a structured set of questions to assist the jury in its deliberations Deliberation After the hearing, jury go to a private room
No access to mobile phones/computers They choose a foreperson amongst them to lead the discussion and present the verdict They try to reach a unanimous verdict If they jury does not return with a unanimous verdict after a minimum period of 2 hours and 10 minutes, judge may recall it and advise that a majority verdict may be made Criminal Justice Act 1967 majority verdicts of at least 10 out of 12 agreeing are allowed Discussions in jury room are secret no one but the 12 members of the jury are present Contempt of Court Act 1981 jury members who reveal information about what went on in jury room risk imprisonmentforeperson announces verdict in public Jury returns to courtroom and Jury has no role in sentencing that is the job of the judge
Discuss advantages of using lay persons (juries and lay magistrates) in criminal courts At least 3 points Do not refer to lay people generally each advantage should be specifically about either juries or lay magistrates At least one advantage must be about juries and one about magistrates Discuss disadvantages of using lay persons (juries and lay magistrates) in criminal courts At least 3 points Do not refer to lay people generally each disadvantage should be
specifically about either juries or lay magistrates At least one disadvantage must be about juries and one about magistrates Discuss the disadvantages of either jurors or lay magistrates Stick to either jurors or magistrates Discuss the advantages of either lay magistrates or jurors Stick to either jurors or magistrates
Advantages of Magistrates Cost magistrates are volunteers so a generally cost-effective system. In 20032004, magistrates expenses = 15 million. To pay professional judges to deal with all criminal cases would cost at least 100 million each year, and switching to CC trials (judge and jury) would be even more expensive Local Knowledge usually live within a reasonable distance to court, may provide a better-informed picture of local life than judges. E.g. in Paul v DPP, case involving kerb-crawling, Appeal Court said that the local knowledge of magistrates made it appropriate for them to hear the case Representative in terms of gender and ethnicity almost half magistrates are female and 8.5% from ethnic minorities roughly reflects the general population. But they are not representative in terms of age or class Speed in bringing cases to court most Ds appear before Magistrates within 24
hours of arrest for preliminary hearing. Those summoned to court tried within a few months. CC trials often start a year after D arrested and charged. E.g. 2011 riots Magistrates Courts stayed open overnight and on weekends to provide instant justice which would not have been possible in CC Disadvantages of Magistrates Inconsistency inconsistency in decision making of different benches. Research confirmed that some benches are more likely to impose a custodial sentence then neighbouring benches for similar offences. E.g. 2008 Lincolnshire 4% of Ds sentenced to immediate custody compared to 14% in Humberside. In 2001 21% of those convicted of driving whilst disqualified in Neath, South Wales sent to prison, compared to 77% in mid-north Essex Biased towards police police officers are frequent witnesses in MC cases and become well
known to magistrates. Argued that this results in an almost automatic tendency to believe their evidence. E.g. Bingham Justices ex p Jowitt speeding case, only evidence that of motorist and police officer, the chairman of the bench said where there was a direct conflict between D and the police, his principle was to always believe the police Case-hardened magistrates hear far more cases than jurors might become case-hardened and cynical about any defences put forward. Conviction rates in MC higher than CC, but should be noted there are few successful appeals from decisions of Magistrates less than 1% Unrepresentative disproportionately white, middle class, professional and wealthy - approx. 2/3 have professional or managerial backgrounds, only 4% under 40, over 50% are over 60. Majority of Ds are young from lower socio-economic backgrounds so trial by Magistrates not trial by peers
Advantages of Juries Laymans equity jury acts as a check on the power of Government and protects against unjust or oppressive prosecution by reflecting a communitys sense of justice e.g. cases dealing with political and moral controversy. Jury has the power to acquit even if D is clearly guilty: Ponting a civil servant believed the Government were deliberately misleading the Commons and the public about the sinking of an Argentinian warship, sent documents to an MP who he knew would be shocked. Ponting was prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act 1911 but was acquitted by the jury not because he wasnt guilty but because the jury refused to convict him. Kronlid protesters caused 2m of criminal damage and made no attempt to
escape or hide the damage. Their defence was that they were acting as a last resort jury acquitted them even though the evidence was clear that they were guilty. Owen jury showed sympathy by acquitting a father who injured his sons killer despite the strength of evidence Advantages of Juries Public Participation allows the ordinary citizen to take part in the administration of justice verdicts seen as those of society rather than the judicial system satisfies the constitutional tradition of judgement by ones peers. Lord Denning described jury service as giving ordinary folk their finest lesson in citizenship Better decision making most cases come down to points of identification and
witness credibility. More likely to be decided correctly as a result of discussion between 12 unbiased and legally unqualified people than by a single judge. Also, because most jurors only sit once in criminal trials, they are not case-hardened and take responsibility seriously Independence decisions have to be made without outside influence. Bushells Case (1670) ensured that a judge cant interfere with a jurys decision making. Disadvantages of Juries Lack of competence particular concern raised about the average jurys understanding of complex fraud cases. Roskill Committee 1986 concluded that trial by random jury was not a satisfactory way of achieving justice in such cases since many were out of their depth. Because of inexperience or
ignorance jurors may rely too heavily on what they are told by lawyers at the expense of the real issues. Evidence from New Zealand 1999 suggested jurors had serious problems understanding key legal terms like Intention and beyond reasonable doubt Jury Nobbling an attempt made by means of threats or bribery to persuade a juror to return a not-guilty verdict. In 1982 several Old Bailey trials had to be stopped because of attempted nobbling. Criminal Procedure and Investigation Act 1996 introduced new offence of intimidating or threating to harm jurors. Criminal Justice Act 2003 allows a judge to hear a case without a jury if there have been problems with previous nobbling happened in Twomey
Disadvantages of Juries Cont. Cost and efficiency jury trials in CC more expensive than trials in MC. Cost of lawyers, judges and other court personnel is higher and case will last longer because of need to sum up evidence for jury May decide unfairly jurors do not have to give reasoned verdicts and jury deliberations are secret can lead to suspicion that some jurors may not decide on the evidence on the case alone. Only find out what happens in the jury room if one juror complains which leads to a retrial. Cases where there is a great deal of media publicity can be argued juries are more likely to be swayed than judges: West D, convicted for the murders of ten young girls and women, as well as her own daughter. Media coverage was extreme. Although understandable the media would have considerably influenced the jurors trying the case who gave a verdict of Guilty.
Young jury consulted a Ouija board. In 2011 one juror, Theodora Dallas, researched the internet to discover the past criminal record of the D Perverse Verdicts see the advantage of Laymans equity and cases like Ponting, Owen and Kronlid juries had the power to acquit these Ds even though they probably thought they were guilty
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