Juries

Juries role and how they are chosen 

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Juries
The jury has been called `the hallmark of the English Legal System' due to the fact a person's
innocence is decided by a group of their peers NOT a group of legal professionals. This shows the
verdict is not down to their legal knowledge but because of the evidence presented to them. The
jury is a random sample of society, producing a representative sample of mixed backgrounds, social
class, gender, age etc.
There are 3 different types of Jury: Criminal
Civil
Coroners
Criminal Cases
The use of juries in criminal trials are now confined to deciding on indictment before the Crown and
since 95% of criminal trials and held in the Magistrates, this means only a very small number of cases
are decided by a jury. Due to the expense, it is only seen beneficial for a jury when the case is a very
serious one.
Civil Cases
Less than 1% if civil cases are decided by a jury and they will only take place in the County and High
courts. Their role is to decided liability and how much compensation the winning party should receive.
There are only certain cases that will be heard by a jury: libel & slander
malicious prosecution
false imprisonment
fraud
Coroners Court
A jury will be held in a coroners court when a person has died due to suspicious or unknown
circumstances. Facts will be found by the coroners' report and the jury make their verdict based in
this evidence.
There are a number of acts that govern juries: Juries Act & Criminal Justice Act
It is under these that the qualifications and eligibility for jurors are.
Before 1972, only those who owned a house of substantial value were able to be a juror.
After 1972, those who could vote were eligible.
Since 2003, the criteria is as follows: on the electoral register
18+
UK citizen since 13
no criminal record
no mental or physical impairment

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Before 2003 you were ineligible for jury service if: member of the judiciary
member of the clergy
people on bail
people with mental health
Also, those excused from jury service: over age of 65
had duties more important e.g. doctor, nurse, MP
Since the Criminal Justice 2003, only members of the armed forces are exempt from jury duty.
The reason for the changes was to make the jury a more representative sample in order to reach the
best possible verdict in cases.…read more

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Perverse Verdicts- this is where juries make a verdict that goes totally against the facts they have
been given.
The advantage of this are: it allows jurors to make a decision on what they feel is fair/right
However, the disadvantage is: it allows them to take the law in their own hands and goes directly
against the law
There is big discussion on whether jury duty is a good thing or not.…read more

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