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Lay People in the Legal System

Lay People in the Legal System

Lay people are magistrates in the magistrates' court and juries in the crown court. In both cases, the lay people decide the FACTS of a case and legal professionals decide the LAW. The legal professionals are a legal clerk for magistrates and the judge for juries. So basically the legal person says something like 'according to the law, he's guilty if ... happened' and the magistrate/jury decide whether ... did happen in order to find him guilty/not guilty.

One difference between the use of lay people in these courts is that in the magistrates court the lay people do the sentencing but in the crown court this is left up to the judge. This means that magistrates need an element of legal training before undertaking their role, which isn't true of juries.

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