The Advantages and Disadvantages of The Use of Lay Magistrates
This essay will explore the importance of lay magistrates in the
English Legal System.
It will explain and justify the advantages and disadvantages of the
use of lay magistrates.
Lay magistrates, also known as Justices of the Peace (JP’s). They are
ordinary people who are trained to be judicial officers with limited
authority to administer and enforce the law in magistrates’ courts.
They are not legally qualified and undertake the work of a magistrate
out of the sense of citizenship, as they are not paid to become a lay
magistrate and work on behalf of the government.
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This takes away any prejudice against magistrates, as they are being
honest and faithful to the law system and are part of the area, which
can provide a swifter process to proceedings in a magistrate’s court.
Nevertheless, training lay magistrates is a significant advantage. As
improved training makes an impact on what lay magistrates should look
out for in cases.
Although they do not have extensive legal knowledge; they are trained
to understand this knowledge to the best of their ability.
Also, the improved training says that lay magistrates are not complete
amateurs to the law.
Furthermore, an advantage for the use of lay magistrates is that there
are few successful appeals in a magistrate’s court, which suggests
that the system is working.
This in turn will boost public confidence in the law enforcement
system, as they will begin to believe that cases can be dealt with
quickly and efficiently.
However, as well as having advantages for the use of lay magistrates,
there are also disadvantages to this.
A disadvantage for the use of lay magistrates is they are prosecution
bias, meaning that they tend to believe the police services over the
This goes to show that as the police are employed to keep order on the
streets, an unlawful act against this will not be seen in the same
light as an unlawful act between two parties, which does not involve