Lay Judges And Labor Courts

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Lay Judges And Labor Courts

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Lay Judges And Labor Courts

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A. Critically discuss the role of magistrates as lay people in the legal system and whether this role is best served by lay majistrates or professional judges hearing cases in magistrates’ courts. B. In the Review of the criminal courts of England and Wales (2001) Lord Justice Auld described the jury as a “hallowed institution which, because of its ancient origin and involvement of 12 randomly selected lay people in the criminal process, commands much public confidence”. In light of this statement, critically assess whether or not public confidence in the current jury system is currently misplaced.
C. Critically discuss, by reference to case law, how English courts decide when it is necessary to refer a point of European Law to the Court of Justice of the European Union for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union.

The Role of Magistrates as Lay People in the Legal System:
Lay Magistrates are sometimes referred to as “Justices of the Peace.” Lay Magistrates are ordinary people having no legal qualifications and have the authority of making decisions in the Court of the Magistrate (Roberts et al. 2012). This concept was originated in the 12th century when the first office for the “Justices of the Peace” was appointed (Flory 2015). It has been recently noted that more than 29, 000 people are sitting as part time magistrates in the United Kingdom (Malsch 2016). Lay Magistrates have different role to play in the Court of Magistrates such as dealing with civil and criminal matter, participating in criminal hearings and hearing for appeals (Machura 2016). This section of the answer deals with the role of lay magistrates in a Magistrates Court.
Criminal Cases:
More than 90 percent of the cases that are heard in the court of a Magistrate are criminal. Almost all the criminal cases originate in a Magistrate’s Court and finish there. Only the most serious criminal offences are handed to the Crown Court for punishing the perpetrator for sentence until death or for full trial with the jury and the Judge (Ivkovic 2015). Magistrates deal with offences that are less serious in nature such as motor offences, petty theft and minute criminal damage (Reichel and Suzuki 2015). Where a defendant pleads “not guilty”, a trial is held where the Magistrates examine the evidence and then decide the matter on the facts and presented by the defence and the prosecution (Donoghue 2014).  If lay Magistrates find any person guilty, or where a person pleads against the allegation, the lay Magistrates use a very structured decision making process and decide the case accordingly (Burgess, Corby and Latreille 2013).
Civil Cases:
Around three percentages of the cases that are heard in the Magistrate’s Court are civil. The types of civil cases that are held in the court of Magistrates are enforcing of debts and non-payment of licenses (Roberts et al. 2012). In the year 2012, more than one in every 10 criminal prosecutions was for enforcement of debt of BBC license fee. The number of prosecutions for evasion increased from 164,412 in the year 2010 to 181,000 in the year 2012 (Roberts et al. 2012).
Youth Court:
For hearing and deciding issues in the Youth Court special trained lay magistrates, above the age of 60 years are appointed. In criminal cases in which a juvenile is involved, the case is dealt with a higher court (Flory 2015). Offences involving juveniles requiring addressing the need of young offenders, young defendants should be accompanied by an adult who is responsible in nature. In such cases, presence of a lay Magistrate is necessary. Lay Magistrates have the responsibility to screen and assess the evidence and decide the case based on the facts and evidence that is presented before him (Malsch 2016).
Appeals from the Refusal of a local authority to grant licenses:
An appeal is to make a serious request that is typically to a magistrate in a magistrate’s Court. The local authority rejects grant of certain licenses and an appeal is made in the Court of Magistrate to reconsider the application of a license (Machura 2016). Lay Magistrates have the authority of understanding the reason of rejection of licenses and if in the opinion of the Magistrates the rejection of an application is justified then the appeal shall not be granted. However, if the Magistrate thinks that the application is justified and not opposed to any public policy then the appeal may be granted (Ivkovic 2015).
Lay Magistrates v. Professional Judges:
Lay Magistrates are normal people without any legal qualification, hired by the state to make decisions in the court of Magistrate. Whereas, professional judges are people who are experts in the field of law having a qualified legal degree and they are hired specifically for dealing with matters relating to legal issue in question (Reichel and Suzuki 2015). This section of the answer deals with the role of lay magistrates as against the role of professional judges, and whether the role of lay magistrates is justified or not.
One of the advantages of using a lay magistrate over the professional judge is that they consider moral values and ethical issues into question rather than just taking into consideration the legal issues. Lay Magistrates have less likelihood of being influenced by state unlike the professional judges (Donoghue 2014). Since they have no legal qualification, they make choices and opinions having a moral background rather than law. To qualify as a lay magistrate, a person should either live or work in the local court in which they take decisions. This means that they have fair knowledge about the community for which and in which they make decisions. Additionally, the advantage of using lay magistrates is that they are cheaper and often cost less than professional judges cost (Burgess, Corby and Latreille 2013). Professional Judges are people who have legal qualifications hence; they are costly and expensive in nature. However, it is not advisable to refer a case to a lay magistrate especially when there is legal issue in question. Since lay magistrates are people who do not have legal qualification, they may not be able to decide a case efficiently where the issue in a given case relates only with legality in the law. In such cases, professional judges should be opted for (Flory 2015). Professional judges are people, who before coming Judges have been either a solicitor or a barrister for at least 5 years. Hence, it may be said that professional judges are more efficient and capable as they have better knowledge of the law and are able to base their decision on the true law rather than factual law. Lay Magistrates generally remain ignorant about the law and fail to see decide issues that are pertaining to legal issue (Malsch 2016).
Conclusively, it may be stated that there are both advantages as well as disadvantages of using lay magistrates over professional judges. Opinions differ from person to person and the methods that is used to decide a case also differs. Ideally, in many cases people prefer using lay magistrates to professional judges as they speak in favour of the local people and community whereas professional judges make decisions that are based on law.
B: The jury system was called the “jewel of in the Crown” or “the corner stone” of the British criminal justice system (Flory 2015). According to Auld, “the jury is regarded as a hallowed institution that because of its ancient origin and involvement of 12 randomly selected lay people in the criminal process, commands much public confidence (Kim et al. 2013).”  The English and the Welsh Jury system is one of the most long established legal methods in the English legal system. However, recently, the jury system has come under much criticism and improvement (Saltzburg 2014). It has been argued in many reports that whether or not the system shall still exist as part of the legal system. This essay deals with how confidence is achieved through jury’s involvement in the community to attain justice and the partnership that comes into existence between the Judge and the Jury (Rodriguez 2014).
The history of the belief that a person has the right to a trial came into existence before the issuance of the Magna Carta in 1215 (Sklansky 2013). The Magna Carta was the document that stated the basic constitutional rights. In England a reference of the Jury type can be seen at Wantage by Aethelred in which 12 laymen were to decide a case and hold person either guilty or not guilty (Lempert 2015). However, the system gradually changed in the form of a formal jury trial. The establishment of the Human Rights Act, 1998, gave people a belief that they have the right to claim a jury trial. However, the Act did not give claim to such a right (Hoppe, Perrone and Nelson 2013). Despite the lack of a real constitution, it made the people belief that they can claim the jury trial as a right and that created confidence in the public for the jury system. Thus, at the time when the jury system came into existence, people had confidence in the system and they relied on the methods adopted by the Jury system (Jimeno-Bulnes and Hans 2016).
The legal system in England and Wales was a combination of judge and jury. The Judge would deal with law and the jury would make decision based on facts and evidences in the case. The Judge and the Jury followed a decision making process that was fair and reasonable (Hoppe, Perrone and Nelson 2013). The common people believed that not only the legal issue in question was decided appropriately but also the moral and ethical issues were addressed.  This increased public confidence of the people in the system of Jury, thus making the Jury very popular (Jimeno-Bulnes and Hans 2016). Additionally, the jury system also became famous as the people thought that it was important to consider a dispute not only from the legal perspective but also from a perspective of a layman thoughts. This, according to the people, was the best system of deciding any dispute in question (Flory 2015). There is evidence to suggest that jury service was considered as part of the national individuality and that the participation was considered as privileged. Lord Justice Auld was the firm believer of the jury system. The Home Office published a report and it suggested that more than 95 percent of jurors interviewed regarded the jury as a very essential part of the justice system. There was an optimistic influence on the connection between the jury and the judge (Kim et al. 2013).
However, with the passage of time, the public confidence seemed to be misplaced the reason behind this is that the jury system lacked proper knowledge and qualification in the field of law and this often led to faulty judgement coming into existence (Saltzburg 2014). There were many reported cases in England in which the jury system failed to consider the issue of law in question and were influenced by politics and media (Rodriguez 2014). This resulted in jury bias. In the case of R. v. Abdroikov, Lord Woolf held that there are many biases that jurors have. The biases may be in relation to class, habits, occupation and characteristics. Article six of the European Convention of Human Rights needs the trial to be impartial and without any discrimination however, it becomes difficult to avoid bias in a group of 12 people especially if media bias the opinion (Sklansky 2013). Juries are often blamed for injustices or miscarriage of justice. It is a known fact that juries are responsible for miscarriages of justice especially at a time when they give bad decision. In the R v. Clark and R v. Cannings, the Judge held that Juries are as good as the material presented before them (Lempert 2015).
Despite the fact that only one percent of criminal case is concluded in the Crown Court of Trial, the jury system is mostly seen as a cornerstone of the criminal legal system. For many people it is a symbolic representation of the time honoured right to be tried by aristocrats, while at the same time encouraging citizenship and social accountability.  However, reform in the trial judge should be made and guidelines can help in the reduction of any confusion in the jury process. It is therefore advisable that the system is revised and the existing ethnic or racial prejudice is eliminated (Hoppe, Perrone and Nelson 2013). The research of the MOJ have evidenced that juries are efficient and that they reach a more efficient verdict more than 98 percent of the total cases that are decided (Lempert 2015). Additionally, it must also be remembered that the verdict is an outcome of combination of jury and the judge. Therefore, it is wrong to conclude that the public confidence in the jury system is misplaced.
Burgess, P.W., Corby, S. and Latreille, P.L., 2013. Lay judges and labor courts: a question of legitimacy.
Donoghue, J.C., 2014. Reforming the role of magistrates: Implications for summary justice in England and Wales. The Modern Law Review, 77(6), pp.928-963.
Flory, T., 2015. Judge and Jury in Imperial Brazil, 1808–1871: Social Control and Political Stability in the New State (Vol. 53). University of Texas Press.
Flory, T., 2015. Judge and Jury in Imperial Brazil, 1808–1871: Social Control and Political Stability in the New State (Vol. 53). University of Texas Press.
Hoppe, J., Perrone, J. and Nelson, L.S., 2013. Being judge and jury: a new skill for emergency physicians. Annals of emergency medicine, 62(4), pp.290-292.
Ivkovic, S.K., 2015. Ears of the deaf: the theory and reality of lay judges in mixed tribunals. Chi.-Kent L. Rev., 90, p.1031.
Jimeno-Bulnes, M. and Hans, V.P., 2016. Legal interpreter for the jury: the role of the Clerk of the Court in Spain. Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 6(2).
Kim, S., Park, J., Park, K. and Eom, J.S., 2013. Judge‐Jury Agreement in Criminal Cases: The First Three Years of the Korean Jury System. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 10(1), pp.35-53.
Lempert, R., 2015. The American jury system: A synthetic overview.Chicago-Kent Law Review, Forthcoming.
Machura, S., 2016. Civil Justice: Lay Judges in the EU Countries. Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 6(2).
Malsch, M., 2016. Democracy in the courts: lay participation in European criminal justice systems. Routledge.
Reichel, P.L. and Suzuki, Y.E., 2015. Japan’s Lay Judge System A Summary of Its Development, Evaluation, and Current Status. International Criminal Justice Review, 25(3), pp.247-262.
Roberts, J., Hough, M., Jackson, J. and Gerber, M.M., 2012. Public Opinion Towards the Lay Magistracy and the Sentencing Council Guidelines The Effects of Information on Attitudes. British Journal of Criminology, 52(6), pp.1072-1091.
Rodriguez, U.D.J.X., 2014. The Decline of Civil Jury Trials: A Positive Development, Myth, or the End of Justice as We Now Know It?. St. Mary’s LJ, 45, pp.333-749.
Saltzburg, S.A., 2014. Inconsistent Jury Verdicts. GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper, (2014-62), p.29.
Sklansky, D.A., 2013. Evidentiary Instructions and the Jury as Other.Stanford Law Review, 65.

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