advantages and disadvantages of juries

an easy to read table comparing the ads/disads of juries (unit one- laypeople)

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  • Created on: 13-07-11 19:46
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Ads and Disads of Trial By Jury Emma Dixon
Public confidence No legal knowledge-
The Right to be tried by one's peers is a bastion Twelve strangers who have no legal knowledge
of liberty against the state. Lord Devlin stated or training.
that the jury is "The lamp that shows that
freedom lives"
Equity Unjust decisions
Can decide cases on their idea of fairness e.g. R Can reach perverse decision which is not
v Ponting 1984 . A Civil servant leaked info to an justified. Have refused to convict in clear cut
MP on the ground of public interest; jury refused cases e.g. R V Randle and Pottle 1991 where Ds
to convict despite there being no legal defence. wrote a book, 25 years later, about their crime:
helping a spy to escape from prison.
Open System of Justice Privacy
Legal system more open because members of Juries deliberate in private and no one can
public involved and whole process is in public. inquire into what happened in the jury room.
Juries do not have to give reasons
Secrecy of the jury room Lack of understanding
Jury protected from pressure and outside No way of knowing if the jury understood the
influences when deciding the verdict. case and came to the decision for the right
reasons e.g. R V Young 1993. In brief, the
allegation was that whilst in the hotel, using an
ouija board, some members of the jury
purported to make contact with the deceased
Harry Fuller and to have received certain
information from him bearing upon the case.
Impartiality excusals
Randomly selected and represents a cross Jury challenging and vetting
section of society High rate of excusals leads to an
unrepresentative jury.
Racial bias
Some jurors may be biased, e.g. against the
police or racially (R V Gregory 1993, juror
showed racial undertones)
Media influence
Media coverage may influence jurors e.g. R V
Taylor 1993. Newspapers gave false impression
of video sequence.
Fraud trials
Fraud trials can be complex and very long. Jurors
may have difficulty understanding a fraud case.
In NZ the D can elect trial by jury in these cases,
or have the judge try them alone.
Compulsory nature unpopular
Slow and expensive trials


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