Stefan Machura


Lay judges in Germany serving at mixed courts are ascribed an "education function," and they should communicate their experience. Data from surveys of German lay assessors are used to investigate this claim. The results are likely to apply to other countries which employ mixed courts. While many lay judges talk about their experience with their families—partly to ease their minds—they are more reluctant to tell colleagues and friends. For a start, many lay judges are no longer part of the work force because they are older in age, and therefore, have a limited number of contacts. Lay judges serving at criminal courts will often encounter resentment when they try to communicate a more nuanced and often positive experience. Often lay judges' personality and habits prevent their education function as many Germans shy away from stating their views. In every country, there are differences in understandings of justice and in the inclination to contribute to a community's discussion, both of which will have an impact on the educative function of lay judges.