Lay people

For this part of the assignment I will describe the role of lay people in the criminal cases such as magistrates and juries.Lay peopleLay people are people who are not experts in a particular field of study, this could be any people but for this I will be referring to magistrates and jury.JuryA jury is a group of men and women chosen randomly to hear a case and decide their verdict from the evidence presented. This is the oldest surviving legal institution reaching beyond the Norman Conquest. The jury that sits in the court is chosen from a huge list of people who live near by the jurisdiction of the court, this list is also known as Jury Panel. The Jury Panel is chosen by an officer who is under instruction from the Lord Chancellor.

The selection of a jury panel is laid down in the Juries Act 1974 as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2003. People chosen for jury have to be:Aged between 18- 70Have to be on electoral registerResident in the UK for the last 5 yearsJuries are used in criminal and civil cases; although in the past few years there has been a decline of using juries in civil cases which involve defamation, malicious, prosecution, fraud and false imprisonment because they feel the jury can be too sympathetic.

Juries are also very rarely used in the County court; in this eight jurors sit and decide the result. In criminal cases twelve jurors are used in Crown court. In the high court twelve jurors are used too.

There are some disqualifications to jury service which have been amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2003. For example people who have been sentenced tocustody for 5 years or more, people who have received 10 years prison sentenced, been on probation for 5 years are all disqualified. An other reason why people can be disqualified from being a juror is if they have mental illness, pregnant or cannot get out of work. Although you would have to do it one time or an other otherwise you got get fined.

Once the jury has been selected it is important for the prosecution to investigate on the backgrounds of the potential jury, this is important because if the potential jury has a criminal record they might relate to the criminal and take the wrong decision, this routine was first approved of in R v Mason 1980. also the potential juror may also have political beliefs