топик Criminal Procedure in England



All criminal cases brought to trial in England begin in the magistrates ’ court. Magistrates’ court is the lowest court of law, which deals with less serious crimes, such as, minor traffic violations, public — health nuisances, petty theft or assault . There are several hundred such courts in England and Wales. The police investigation is normally completed by the time the case comes before the magistrates’ court for the first time. The magistrates themselves are for the most part laypeople (usually unpaid) chosen for their experience and knowledge of society. All are appointed by the central government on the advice of a committee, known as the Lord Lieutenant ’s Advisory Committee, for the particular county in which they are to sit. Magistrates, who are required to sit on an average of at least 14 days each year, develop considerable experience in their work, but they cannot be considered professionals. In large cities there are professional, legally qualified magistrates, known as stipendiary magistrates.

The stipendiary magistrate can sit on his own, but lay magistrates may sit only as a bench of two or more. Lay magistrates are permanently attended by a legally qualified clerk to advise them on matters of law. Law clerk is also responsible for the administrative functions of the court. The system of lay magistrates has existed in England and Wales since about 1360. The limit of sentence imposed by a magistrates’ court is six months imprisonment or a fine not to exceed £ 400. Appeals from a magistrates’ court go to the High Court or the Crown Court. The magistrates’ court also sits as a juvenile court hearing cases involving care of children under 14 and dealing with children aged 14 — 17 with the exception, in both age groups, of homicide cases.

Notes:

magistrate – мировой судья;

minor – мелкий;

assault – нападение;

lay – непрофессиональный;

Lord Lieutenant – главный мировой судья графства;

stipendiary – оплачиваемый;

attend – обслуживать;

exceed – превышать;

juvenile – несовершеннолетний;

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