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Magistrates bench handbook - Magistrates court (England and Wales) - Wikipedia



This is where the Magistrate sits - or there could be a Justice of the Peace who has been appointed to sit and been authorised to sit in as a bench justice. In certain courts we have two Justices of the Peace sitting and in other courts there may be just one sitting on their own. A lot of people ask the reason why a judicial officer’s bench may be raised above the normal platform or floor level. As well as allowing the Magistrate to see and be seen by all parts of the courtroom, historically the elevation of the bench has been about showing dignity and authority towards that bench.

The Court Clerk has responsibility to make sure the charges are read and pleas are taken, record the outcomes of the particular matter that’s before the courts and ensure that the tape recording equipment is working, as well as generally run the flow of the court on any given day.

The witness box is raised - though not as much as the bench - and the purpose for that is so that all people in the courtroom can hear and see what’s happening from that point. So while that person is giving evidence, everyone in the courtroom can focus on that particular area and not be denied access to what’s going on.

Magistrates (also known as justices of the peace) are 21,500 volunteer judicial office holders who serve in magistrates’ courts throughout England and Wales.

Magistrates can be appointed from the age of 18 and retire at 70. Magistrates do not require legal training or qualifications. Candidates must demonstrate six ‘key qualities’ – Good Character; Commitment and Reliability; Social Awareness; Sound Judgement; Understanding and Communication; Maturity and Sound Temperament. Once appointed, magistrates undertake mandatory training and are always supported in court by a trained legal advisor to guide them on points of law and procedure.

All magistrates begin their magisterial career in the adult court where they deal with crimes which, while not necessarily very serious in nature, can have the most widespread impact on communities; for example, anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related incidents. Magistrates’ courts are also the first stage in dealing with more serious crimes such as rape and murder, which are then referred on to the Crown Court.

This is where the Magistrate sits - or there could be a Justice of the Peace who has been appointed to sit and been authorised to sit in as a bench justice. In certain courts we have two Justices of the Peace sitting and in other courts there may be just one sitting on their own. A lot of people ask the reason why a judicial officer’s bench may be raised above the normal platform or floor level. As well as allowing the Magistrate to see and be seen by all parts of the courtroom, historically the elevation of the bench has been about showing dignity and authority towards that bench.

The Court Clerk has responsibility to make sure the charges are read and pleas are taken, record the outcomes of the particular matter that’s before the courts and ensure that the tape recording equipment is working, as well as generally run the flow of the court on any given day.

The witness box is raised - though not as much as the bench - and the purpose for that is so that all people in the courtroom can hear and see what’s happening from that point. So while that person is giving evidence, everyone in the courtroom can focus on that particular area and not be denied access to what’s going on.

Magistrates (also known as justices of the peace) are 21,500 volunteer judicial office holders who serve in magistrates’ courts throughout England and Wales.

Magistrates can be appointed from the age of 18 and retire at 70. Magistrates do not require legal training or qualifications. Candidates must demonstrate six ‘key qualities’ – Good Character; Commitment and Reliability; Social Awareness; Sound Judgement; Understanding and Communication; Maturity and Sound Temperament. Once appointed, magistrates undertake mandatory training and are always supported in court by a trained legal advisor to guide them on points of law and procedure.

All magistrates begin their magisterial career in the adult court where they deal with crimes which, while not necessarily very serious in nature, can have the most widespread impact on communities; for example, anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related incidents. Magistrates’ courts are also the first stage in dealing with more serious crimes such as rape and murder, which are then referred on to the Crown Court.

On 1 July 2002, the Defendant (Darren SMITH) is at a well-known Launceston nightclub with his girlfriend (Tracey JONES). She is 3 months pregnant. They have been living together for 12 months in a house they are buying near Hadspen.

The Defendant has consumed beer for about the two hours they have been at the night club. His girlfriend drove them to the nightclub and intends to drive them home. A young male person pays some attention to his girlfriend and the Defendant and the male have a verbal argument. This upsets his girlfriend and then she and the Defendant argue. She leaves to drive home.

They live about 10 kilometres from Launceston. It is a cold night. He becomes increasingly worried about his girlfriend and sees an unlocked car in the street. Without thinking he gets in and starts the car. He commences to drive home.

This is where the Magistrate sits - or there could be a Justice of the Peace who has been appointed to sit and been authorised to sit in as a bench justice. In certain courts we have two Justices of the Peace sitting and in other courts there may be just one sitting on their own. A lot of people ask the reason why a judicial officer’s bench may be raised above the normal platform or floor level. As well as allowing the Magistrate to see and be seen by all parts of the courtroom, historically the elevation of the bench has been about showing dignity and authority towards that bench.

The Court Clerk has responsibility to make sure the charges are read and pleas are taken, record the outcomes of the particular matter that’s before the courts and ensure that the tape recording equipment is working, as well as generally run the flow of the court on any given day.

The witness box is raised - though not as much as the bench - and the purpose for that is so that all people in the courtroom can hear and see what’s happening from that point. So while that person is giving evidence, everyone in the courtroom can focus on that particular area and not be denied access to what’s going on.

This is where the Magistrate sits - or there could be a Justice of the Peace who has been appointed to sit and been authorised to sit in as a bench justice. In certain courts we have two Justices of the Peace sitting and in other courts there may be just one sitting on their own. A lot of people ask the reason why a judicial officer’s bench may be raised above the normal platform or floor level. As well as allowing the Magistrate to see and be seen by all parts of the courtroom, historically the elevation of the bench has been about showing dignity and authority towards that bench.

The Court Clerk has responsibility to make sure the charges are read and pleas are taken, record the outcomes of the particular matter that’s before the courts and ensure that the tape recording equipment is working, as well as generally run the flow of the court on any given day.

The witness box is raised - though not as much as the bench - and the purpose for that is so that all people in the courtroom can hear and see what’s happening from that point. So while that person is giving evidence, everyone in the courtroom can focus on that particular area and not be denied access to what’s going on.

Magistrates (also known as justices of the peace) are 21,500 volunteer judicial office holders who serve in magistrates’ courts throughout England and Wales.

Magistrates can be appointed from the age of 18 and retire at 70. Magistrates do not require legal training or qualifications. Candidates must demonstrate six ‘key qualities’ – Good Character; Commitment and Reliability; Social Awareness; Sound Judgement; Understanding and Communication; Maturity and Sound Temperament. Once appointed, magistrates undertake mandatory training and are always supported in court by a trained legal advisor to guide them on points of law and procedure.

All magistrates begin their magisterial career in the adult court where they deal with crimes which, while not necessarily very serious in nature, can have the most widespread impact on communities; for example, anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related incidents. Magistrates’ courts are also the first stage in dealing with more serious crimes such as rape and murder, which are then referred on to the Crown Court.

On 1 July 2002, the Defendant (Darren SMITH) is at a well-known Launceston nightclub with his girlfriend (Tracey JONES). She is 3 months pregnant. They have been living together for 12 months in a house they are buying near Hadspen.

The Defendant has consumed beer for about the two hours they have been at the night club. His girlfriend drove them to the nightclub and intends to drive them home. A young male person pays some attention to his girlfriend and the Defendant and the male have a verbal argument. This upsets his girlfriend and then she and the Defendant argue. She leaves to drive home.

They live about 10 kilometres from Launceston. It is a cold night. He becomes increasingly worried about his girlfriend and sees an unlocked car in the street. Without thinking he gets in and starts the car. He commences to drive home.

This Benchbook flows, in the first instance, from the work of the Criminal Courts Judicial Committee which, under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Hart, has had as its primary focus the efficient management of cases coming before the criminal courts for the benefit of all participants, consonant with the overriding object of ensuring that those cases are disposed of fairly and justly.

Earlier this year, in furtherance of that aim, a JSB case management workshop for the Magistrates’ Courts tier was held with the express purpose of sharing good practice across the tier. The agreed conclusions formed the basis of an extremely useful practice note on case management subsequently issued by the Presiding District Judge with my approval. This important practice note, together with other, related, case management materials, now occupies a central place within this manual and establishes definitively the appropriate manner by which to progress summarily prosecuted criminal charges.

Additionally, the Benchbook contains those portions of the Magistrates’ Courts Sentencing Guidelines which have already been issued by the Sentencing Group. As further guidelines are produced by the Magistrates’ Courts sub-committee of that group, these will likewise be added to the book, thus providing the judiciary in the adult court with a comprehensive and readily available resource to assist them in sentencing deliberations.