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What is a Lay Justice?

Lay Justices are also called Magistrates or Justices of Peace. Lay Justices are part-time judges and work as panel of two or three and are among common and well respected people in the society.

Lay Justices are from diverse backgrounds in the society and have different qualifications and look to be representing local people and make decision on their behalf. They are not legally qualified but are supported by well qualified Legal Adviser/s in making legally binding decisions.  Legal Adviser’s deal with direct legal issues and provide their inputs but any issues in conflict are to be decided upon by the Lay Justices.

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As the Lay Justices are from common people, they are not usually from legal studies background, the adjudication of disputed matters may take more time. This is due to the fact that Lay Justices are usually in panel form debate over the facts, circumstances and evidence in the matter.

They also take assistance and legal advice from a legal adviser about the legal standing of their findings and decision.  This may not be the case by a usual Judge who can use his professional experience and self-assured about handling the law.

The Family Court hearings usually are held at the Magistrates Court building or the County or Crown Court building. The Family Cases which are considered to be difficult and intricate for Lay Justices will be heard by a Judge at the County Court building on application. Appeals from Lay Justices are also made to the Judge.

For more information on this subject please visit our Legal Library.


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06th October 2016

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