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    Judged by peers? The diversity of lay magistrates in England and Wales

    Gibbs, P. and Kirby, Amy (2014) Judged by peers? The diversity of lay magistrates in England and Wales. Working Paper. Institute for Criminal Policy Research, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK.

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    The criminal justice system of England and Wales relies heavily on members of the public – ‘lay participants’ – in administering justice. The roots of lay participation lie in the notion of participatory democracy, specifically ‘judgement by one’s peers’ (Sanders, 2002; Crawford, 2004; Gibson and Cavadino, 2008). The use of juries and lay magistrates offers an inclusive form of justice involving people without legal education passing judgement on fellow members of society. Any member of the public aged between 18 and 65 can apply to become a lay magistrate, and as Crawford (2004) has highlighted, it is important that lay participants in criminal justice adequately reflect the communities which they serve. This paper questions the representativeness of lay magistrates in their locality, through analysing existing evidence on the lay magistracy’s composition and linking that to trends in the recruitment of magistrates. The paper argues that lay magistrates are in some ways less diverse than they were at the turn of the century; being older, less representative of England and Wales’ BAME population and possibly more middle class.


    Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
    Additional Information: Howard League What is Justice? Working Papers 6/2014
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Crime & Justice Policy Research, Institute for
    Depositing User: Amy Kirby
    Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2018 08:38
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:41


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