Sample Law Paper on Magistrates

Over the years, magistrates in the courtrooms have had a significant share of power in
delivering verdicts to the defendant. However, in recent years, the call to reform magistrates and
reduce their power capacities has increased. It is noted that lay magistrates in courtrooms have
issued more biased verdicts. On the contrary, laypeople have no law experience or knowledge to
act in total capacity to punish the defendant and give a verdict. Therefore, it is inherent that these
magistrates be removed and be abolished from their stance as magistrates. Additionally, lay
magistrates have congested the courtroom, making it challenging to maneuver and even have
breathing space.
Lay magistrates have increased significantly over the decades. These are ordinary people
with zero experience in law who work part-time as magistrates in courts that are locally available
to them. Recent studies have shown that these magistrates have a bench that comprises two to
three numbers of these magistrates in the UK 1 . Despite the advantageous and glorified status that
these lay magistrates have, they have issued verdicts and judgments based on gender, social
status, and the criminal records of the individual 2 . The partisan issue of the verdict has had more
serious implications and effects on the defendant and their families. The psychological torture
that these individuals undergo has created enough tension to make them feel suicidal in their
positions. Fairness in the courtroom is paramount for equality and unbiased ruling. In the advent
of a biased judgment, the public trust is bruised, and the people will have questions that even the
judiciary will have no answers to. Public trust is necessary for any government institution,
including the courts. However, undermining public confidence is a scene that is introduced by
the lay magistrate’s increasing number in the UK and other parts of the world. Surveys done in
1 ‘Disadvantages of Lay Magistrates – 731 Words | Bartleby’ (Bartleby.com2021)
2 Andreas Kapardis and David P Farrington, ‘An Experimental Study of Sentencing by Magistrates.’ (1981) 5 Law
and Human Behavior 107

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1997 show that people's confidence in the judiciary has varying degrees of negativities. The
people that were involved in the study explained that court systems and the bench seemed to be
biased by giving the lenient verdict to wealthy people and government officials 3 . He has distorted
the trust of poor complainants to get clean and sound justice. The less fortunate people in society
have lost confidence in the judicial system. They are now seeking other ways other than the
judiciary to seek justice and alleviate their pain of suffering.
Additionally, lay magistrates have had no training in legal law and the civil rights of the
people. Recent reviews explain the importance of training, stating that it allows the magistrate
and the judiciary to keep abreast with the current situations that are in constant change 4 .
Ironically, the lay magistrates who have zero understanding of the ever-changing societal issues
and the complexity of the law itself are the ones to issue a verdict in the courthouse, where they
are believed to be performing in total capacity. Training is the most important way to equip the
magistrate and the judges with the skill to issue a nonbiased fair verdict. Additionally,
magistrates and judges who have better training in recognized institutions have better chances to
communicate well with their fellow professionals in law. This is not the case with lay
magistrates. They tend to miscommunicate and misinterpret the information based on their
evidence. Nevertheless, these magistrates have limited knowledge of the law, making them
susceptible to manipulation and even threat at some point by influential figures in society.
Compromise is something that the judiciary should not allow while practicing law and issuing a
The presence of lay magistrates in the scene of law and judiciary does not give room for
peer trial. According to the recent findings, peer trial dates back to the Magna Carter in England.
3 David B Rottman and Alan Tomkins, ‘Public Trust and Confidence in the Courts: What Public Opinion Surveys
Mean to Judges’ (DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska – Lincoln2022)
4 The Magistrate’s View, Taylor & Francis 2022

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During this era, the fellow nobles tried nobilities rather than the king. Therefore, the entry of lay
magistrates into the scene did not allow for peer or public trial of the defendant despite it being
one of the defendant's rights. However, due to public trial, the public sees a clear image of
transparency in the jury in offering fair verdicts and showing that the system is functioning well 5 .
In doing so, the public will have confidence, and more people will have the courage to seek
essential judicial services in their daily activities. On the contrary, lay magistrates have denied
the public a chance to build the confidence and courage to seek judicial services by denying the
opportunity for public and peer trial. The aftermath of the magistrate’s activity is that the number
of pretrial jail records increases by a significant amount. Statistics have shown that the
population of people in jail between 1970 and 2015 has increased by 54% 6 .
In recent cases, it is noted that lay magistrates do rely too much on the advice of the legal
advisor. These advisors do their job by advising the jury and other firms and organizations on the
best route to follow for better results. Therefore, lay magistrates tend to be manipulated by the
legal advisors based on the trajectory of the verdict and punishment. Depending on their
relationship with the legal advisor, the judgment could be too harsh or lenient to the defendant.
Therefore, lay magistrates should be abolished to prevent further unprecedented acts of injustice
in the courtroom. Social injustice to individuals has fatal impacts on their well-being and health.
Recent literature elucidates that social injustice has denied people and other organizations from
having their basic human needs met 7 . Therefore, lay magistrates have compounded and
perpetuated the rising numbers of lack of fairness and equity in the social sphere. Social injustice
has created an environment where within the ranks of the people, they fight against each other.

5 .
Price R, 'Right to a Public Trial' (www.nolo.com8 August 2013)
6 Digard L and Swavola E, 'For the Record Justice Denied: The Harmful and Lasting Effects of Pretrial Detention
7 ‌Levy BS, ‘The Impact of Social Injustice on Public Health’ [2019]

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An example of this occasion is in Japan, where Japanese Americans were socially discriminated
against and robbed of their belongings and livelihood 8 . Consequently, people's economic
disparities in their lifetimes depend on the jury's verdicts, including lay magistrates, made inside
the courtroom. It is evident that economic inequality in the community affects the majority of the
people, characterized by the notion that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer 9 . It is then
prudent and wise to abolish lay magistrates in the courtroom to prevent further episodes of social
injustice to the nation's people. Additionally, with zero training in their professions, lay
magistrates’ integrity is compromised. The oath of secrecy before assuming work does not
significantly keep them from talking about court matters to other people about court proceedings
and the people involved. In doing so, they place the lives of the people involved in danger by
disclosing their social ranks and status.
Lay magistrates tend to be middle class and middle-minded on matters that need clear
verdicts and decisions. Therefore, it is clear that the lay magistrates have some relationships with
many defendants. Thus, their knowledge of the defendant puts them on a crisscross road to issue
strict verdicts against them. The love that magistrates have for their own rotten the entire state
and the neighboring states. High crime rates will be recorded in many areas of the city due to the
incompetency of the magistrate and failure to issue strict verdicts to the defendant. Therefore, the
effects of insecurity in the region will make people spend extravagantly on ways to increase and
implement the security state of the area. 10 . For instance, people affected will have to spend more
money on larger locks, buy expensive security alarms, and bring into play guard dogs with high
maintenance costs. The economic implications of insecurities have rendered people incapable of
operating with ease and obtaining their needs with utmost ease without pressure. However, crime
8 ‌Donna K Nagata, ‘The Consequences of Injustice’ [1993] Critical Issues in Social Justice 17
9 The Consequences of Economic Inequality (Seven Pillars Institute5 February 2015)
10 Economic and Social Effects of Crime |’ (Encyclopedia.com2022)

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rates do a lot of mental damage to the affected victims. For instance, crime comes along with
pain and suffering. The aftermath of crime rates is resentment and hatred toward the offenders.
The region and country also suffer from the implications of high crime rates. Tourists would
never have to visit sites infested with higher rates of crime. Therefore, the government and
region will fall back on economic ground. Other production sectors such as agriculture will
suffer from inadequate funds to drive their operations like importing farm inputs. Tourists do
contribute a lot to the economic development of the country and region since the foreign
exchange rates differ from the local currency. It is then clear that, to some extent, the lenient
verdict of magistrates does affect not only individuals but also the entire nation. When crime
rates increase, people become insecure, and their daily activities are interrupted. Abolishing the
lay magistrates from the courtroom is advantageous to the people and the nation at large since
they determine the trajectory of the country's development.
The overflow of magistrate court cases has affected the quality of hearing and sentence
pronunciation. Therefore lay magistrates present in the courts cover the cases with lesser detailed
attention than the case deserves. Court hearing and the quality of verdict presented before the
defendant allows for appeals from the different types of courts in the region. For instance, Kenya
enables court appeals so that people from various minority groups and ethnicities can access
better judicial judgment and verdicts if they feel they infringe on their rights. In doing so, the
public believes that justice is not served well to people who have the right to seek justice from
the courts.
Consequently, the public's image of these courts becomes blurred and vague as more cases are
appealed to higher courts. The aftermath is that the trust people had in these bodies is tainted
black, and they will revolt against any verdict issued in the magistrate courts. Then again, more

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people have rebelled against the idea of verdicts issued by lay magistrates. The reason is that
these are untrained professionals with a common background with the locals who have the title
of a lay magistrate and have entitled themselves above others to give verdicts that sometimes are
not reasonable. People have therefore refrained from going to the courts to receive justice.
Notably, many people have taken authorities into their own hands and dealt with their offenders.
Other pieces of literature have mentioned that the advent of taking command into one's hands is
an illegal activity that calls for the jury to issue a strict verdict on the same. 11 . However, who
should the people turn to in cases of injustice? The question posed and the effects of lay
magistrates pose a Pandora that the people cannot fathom. Concurrently, the solution is to
abolish lay magistrates from the courts and allow the judges to take charge of the jury and issue
verdicts that the public and complainants, including the defendant, will be happy and say justice
has prevailed.
Wisdom to learn and understand the happenings in the regions is lacking by a significant
proportion within the ranks of lay magistrates. They have marginalized the poor and the
experiences in the poor man's territory. This occasion deprives the magistrate of knowing the
problems the people from these parts face. The constant pressure in life to succeed makes the lay
magistrate entangled with only the rich. Therefore, poor, victimized individuals have suffered
humiliation at the hands of these magistrates due to their unprofessionalism.
In sum, the discussion points out why lay magistrates should be abolished. Several
sources have given reasons explaining that these magistrates have no training in law and civil
4rights of the people. The consequence of the occurrence shows itself in the ruling issued by the
magistrates. For instance, their knowledge of the defendant blinds them to giving lenient

11 Eugene Volokh, ‘“Taking the Law into Your Own Hands,” Deadly Self-Defense, and Islamic Arbitration
Tribunals’ (Washington Post2 February 2015)

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verdicts. This escalates the rate of crime in the region and the country, resulting in economic
instability. Tourists cease to visit, and the country suffers significant blows to its major
productive sectors. However, it is noted that lay magistrates issue partial verdicts to the
defendant. These verdicts have depended on various factors, which include social status, ethnic
extraction of an individual, and the social rank of the defendant and complainant. Biased
judgments have implications for the moral compass of the individual receiving them. Some of
the repercussions could damage their self-esteem, further resulting in a more complex problem in
the future. Additionally, lay magistrates have undermined people's trust in court systems. They
have refrained from the defendant and deprived their right to be tried in public. Concurrently, the
aftermath is that the trust people have for the court system and judicial service is tarnished, and
they seek other alternatives to seek justice. Arguably, lay magistrates tend to receive legal from
legal advisors. This places them in a spot to be easily manipulated in issuing verdicts. Finally,
the statement "It is not appropriate for laypeople sitting as magistrates to hear cases, deliver
verdicts, and punish defendants. The role of magistrates should be abolished” is a true
statement based on the argument given.


‌ ‘Economic and Social Effects of Crime |’ (Encyclopedia.com2022)
maps/economic-and-social-effects-crime> accessed 22 April 2022

‌ Digard L and Swavola E, ‘For the Record Justice Denied: The Harmful and Lasting Effects of
Pretrial Detention’ (2019) <

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‌ Price R, 'Right to a Public Trial' (www.nolo.com8 August 2013) <
onsibilities%20and%20actions.> accessed 21 April 2022

‌ Volokh E, ‘“Taking the Law into Your Own Hands,” Deadly Self-Defense, and Islamic
Arbitration Tribunals’ (Washington Post2 February 2015)
accessed 22 April 2022

‘Disadvantages of Lay Magistrates – 731 Words | Bartleby’ (Bartleby.com2021)
accessed 21 April 2022

'The Consequences of Economic Inequality (Seven Pillars Institute5 February 2015)
<> accessed 22 April

‌‘The Magistrate’s View’ (Taylor & Francis2022)
accessed 21 April 2022

‌Kapardis A and Farrington DP, ‘An Experimental Study of Sentencing by Magistrates.’ (1981) 5
Law and Human Behavior 107 <>
accessed 21 April 2022

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‌Levy BS, ‘The Impact of Social Injustice on Public Health’ [2019] Oxford Scholarship Online 3
0of%20fairness%20or%20equity.> accessed 22 April 2022

‌Nagata DK, ‘The Consequences of Injustice’ [1993] Critical Issues in Social Justice 17
<> accessed 22 April

‌Rottman DB and Tomkins A, ‘Public Trust and Confidence in the Courts: What Public Opinion
Surveys Mean to Judges’ (DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska – Lincoln2022)
<> accessed 21 April 2022