1.0 Learning Agreement
3.1 I obtained my placement by asking a family friend who works for Grays Council if they can find me a placement within a court. Roughly four days after my enquiry I was called and told that in two days at 9am I must be at Basildon Magistrate Court for a meeting. They told me who I was going to meet; that I should wear a suit and use this meeting as an opportunity to explain why I want this placement. The meeting lasted for approximately 50minutes; and at the end of the meeting it was agreed that I could complete my twenty-five day placement at Basildon Magistrate Court working five days each week as a Court Administrative Officer.
3.2 I was advised at the beginning of my placement that I should work in two different departments, as this would offer a better incite and understanding of what goes on practically within the legal world. One department deals with criminal offences. Criminal offences are divided into three groups and include:
* Summary Offences; for example driving offences and disorderly conduct.
* Triable either way offences; such as serious assault and theft.
* Indictable offences; these include rape and murder.
All this category of offences can also be tried at a Crown Court. The Magistrates' Court will decide if bail will be allowed before the case moves to the Crown Court.
(Siegel, L. ‘2009’ p.141)
The other department is responsible for civil offences. These include:
* Cases concerning the welfare of children.
* Granting gambling and betting licences.
* Dealing with people who do not pay their council tax.
* Family law including maintenance orders.
* Granting alcohol licences.
(Merryman, J. ‘2007’ p.22-23)
3.3 Generally, Magistrate Courts have many strengths, but equally as many weaknesses. Some would argue that since magistrates have to live within 15 miles of the...