What is a magistrate UK?

Asked by: Gunnar Trantow DVM  |  Last update: July 18, 2022
Score: 4.4/5 (5 votes)

Magistrates are volunteers who hear cases in courts in their community. They can hear cases in the criminal court, the family court, or both. Each case is usually heard by 3 magistrates, including a magistrate who is trained to act as a chairperson.

What is the difference between a judge and a magistrate UK?

Magistrates often have a narrow scope of authority and they hear short and less complex matters. Judges, on the other hand, have great authority over matters and generally hear larger, more complex cases. Therefore, while they are both official representatives of the Crown, their roles significantly differ.

Do magistrates get paid in UK?

Pay and allowances

Magistrates are not paid, but many employers allow their employees time off with pay. If you lose out on pay, you can claim an allowance at a set rate, as well as allowances for travel and subsistence.

What is the main role of a magistrate?

What do magistrates do? Magistrates listen carefully to all evidence given in court and follow structured decision-making processes (such as sentencing guidelines in criminal cases) and case law to reach fair decisions. They are advised on points of law by a legal adviser who sits in court with them.

How much does a magistrate make UK?

How much does a Magistrate make in United Kingdom? The average magistrate salary in the United Kingdom is £54,695 per year or £28.05 per hour. Entry level positions start at £45,945 per year while most experienced workers make up to £77,500 per year.

The work of magistrates in England and Wales

40 related questions found

Can anyone be a magistrate?

As long as they are over 18 and can make the time for it, almost anybody can become a magistrate. There are only a few exceptions: Police officers, traffic wardens and members of the armed forces cannot become magistrates. This is to make sure that magistrates are impartial.

How long is magistrates training?

Magistrates do not need any specific legal training, nor do they sit exams. Instead, they undergo mandatory training of about three and a half days before sitting in court, and will be allocated a mentor for their first year.

What powers do magistrates have?

Magistrates have sentencing powers that allow them to impose a range of sentences, including unlimited fines, bans, community orders and up to 12 months' custody, depending on the offence. Find out more about the different types of sentence and see the guidelines for sentencing offences in magistrates' courts.

What cases do magistrates deal with?

Magistrates deal with three kinds of cases:
  • Summary offences. These are less serious cases, such as motoring offences and minor assaults, where the defendant is not entitled to trial by jury.
  • Either-way offences. ...
  • Indictable-only offences.

Can magistrates become judges?

More experienced magistrates also deal with cases in the youth court (involving defendants aged ten to 18) or with children's cases in the family court. In addition, magistrates can sit with a legally qualified circuit judge in the Crown Court during appeals.

What are the disadvantages of magistrates?

  • Prosecution Biased- As untrained , they may side with the police. ...
  • Inconsistent-May forget sentences due to working only 13 days a year. ...
  • Case Hardened-May judge defendants on a case before. ...
  • Unrepresentative of society- Only people with free time.

Is it difficult to become a magistrate?

While they do not require qualifications in practicing law, a magistrate requires a number of key skills, which includes: Good character – the role of a magistrate is to establish right from wrong, and to apply appropriate judgements to those who have broken the law. As such, being of good character is vital.

How are magistrates selected?

The Senior Presiding Judge appoints magistrates on behalf of the Lord Chief Justice. You do not need legal training or formal qualifications to become a magistrate. In court, magistrates usually sit as a panel of three – an experienced chairman and two 'wingers'.

Who is more powerful judge or magistrate?

A Judge is appointed by the President of India, whereas the Magistrate is appointed by the High Courts. A Judge has more powers than a Magistrate.

Why are magistrates better than judges?

A widely perceived strength of magistrates was their greater connection with the local community as compared with District Judges, meaning that they were felt to be better placed to make judgments and dispense appropriate “local justice”. Other perceived strengths of magistrates relate to the concept of “fairness”.

Do you get paid as a magistrate?

Firstly, although can claim expenses for things like travel, you don't get paid for being a Magistrate because you're intended to be an impartial representative of the local area. So a passion for the profession is absolutely necessary to take this job.

Can magistrate send you jail?

If the case is to be dealt within a magistrates' court, the defendant(s) are asked to enter a plea. If they plead guilty or are later found to be guilty, the magistrates can impose a sentence, generally of up to six months' imprisonment for a single offence (12 months in total), or a fine of an unlimited amount.

What crimes are heard in magistrates court?

Cases a magistrates' court deals with

A magistrates' court normally handles cases known as 'summary offences', for example: most motoring offences. minor criminal damage. common assault (not causing significant injury)

Why do all cases start in the magistrates court?

When criminal cases go to court, every case will start at the magistrates' court and this is where the overwhelming majority will stay. This page explains how some cases can move on to the Crown Court, either for sentence or for trial by jury.”

How do you address a magistrate UK?

When you speak to a District Judge or magistrate you should stand up and call them 'Sir' or 'Madam'. The press and public are usually allowed in the courtroom.

What happens if I plead guilty at magistrates court UK?

Pleading guilty

If you plead guilty at the outset your case will not go to trial and you could be sentenced immediately in the magistrates' court. For more serious offences you will have to go to the Crown Court to be sentenced.

What happens in a magistrates court UK?

At trial the court will hear evidence from any prosecution witnesses and our lawyers will challenge evidence where necessary, by cross examination. You are then given the opportunity to give evidence yourself and any defence evidence is called. The Magistrates will then retire to consider their decision.

How do you address a magistrate?

Always use the judicial honorific "Honorable" when addressing a magistrate directly in a letter, and end with their title, "Magistrate Judge." For example, a magistrate named Jane Smith should be addressed in writing as, "Honorable Jane Smith, Magistrate Judge."

Do magistrates wear robes?

High Court and District Court judges wear black gowns. Magistrates do not wear gowns.

What are the 6 key qualities of magistrates?

19.2 The six key qualities sought in those applying to become magistrates are, good character, understanding and communication, social awareness, maturity and sound temperament, sound judgment and commitment and reliability (see section 6).