Wednesday, May 14, 2014
The court systems are very similar in America and England yet the small differences in procedures stood out to me. Today while visiting the magistrate court I first noticed how laid back it was compared to the American court system. People where coming and going as they pleased and all defense attorneys sat in front and a small line of seats for those being prosecuted and want to watch the cases. The defendant sits separated from the rest of the room behind a glass wall. There are two ways to go about a case; it can either go to a lay bench, which is three volunteers that go through a small course and are advised by a legal advisor, or the district judge, who is a registered attorney for at least 7 years ten can apply to be a judge. The judge will see more serious crimes. At magistrate level the courts then decide whether to send the case to crowns court or stay in magistrate. Magistrate can only deal with offenses up to 6 months in prison. It was so fun to watch cases be handled. The system here has flaws just like any other but was very balanced. The most fasinating part of the cases we watched to me was that the judges accommodated the sentencing to the punishment and person, not the crime committed. The magistrate court was fansinating and I learned so much about where our system originated from!