What Are Lay Magistrates in England and Wales?

lay-magistrates-england-wales Credit: Alex Segre/Moment/Getty Images

Lay magistrates play a role in both civil and criminal court systems in England and Wales, without the benefit of formal legal degrees. These courts adhere to the fair trial standards set forth by the United Nations and the Council of Europe.

White there is some training involved in becoming a lay magistrate, no formal law degree is required. In this case, a clerk of court that is legally qualified assists a lay magistrate in legal points and procedures such as sentencing.

A displeased defendant can demand a new trial within a period of two weeks following a summary trial. If the conviction holds in the second trial, a point of law is the only chance for another. The Court of Appeal tries this appeal. From the Court of Appeal, it then goes to the House of Lords.