Most countries employ lay judges in various forms and for various tasks. The institution of the lay judge has been around longer than that of professional judge. Professional judges were initially greeted with distrust as servants of the ruling kings. One way to deal with this was to introduce a mixed court of appointed professional judges and local representatives. The lay assessors were expected to know the local law and to be independent. The concept of the lay judge today is connected to ideas of democratic rule, adequate verdicts, and fair trials. In many countries, lay judges are part of the legal and political culture, sometimes as a core element. These attributes have stimulated scholarly interest; in addition, lay judges are more easily interviewed ...

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