Criminal Courts and Lay People

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  • Created on: 01-01-16 14:02

Juries: Eligability

Under the Juries Act 1974

There are 3 main criteria;

  • 18-70
  • Lived in the UK for 5 years since the age 13
  • Registered on the Electoral Register

You are disqualified if:

  • You're on bail
  • Had a prison sentence less than 5 years in the past 10 years
  • Had a sentence of more than 5 years (disqualified for life)
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Juries: Deferral and Excusal

Deferral: It pospones jury duty for a period in the next 12 moths.

You can deffer if:

  • A holiday is booked
  • Hospital appointment
  • Examinations

Excusal: Takes you offf the list for a year

You can apply if:

  • Previously done jury duty
  • Over 65 years old
  • Religious beliefs
  • In the armed forces full time
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Jury Vetting

Police checks: Eliminate people who have criminal convictions. They are legitimate

Political vetting: Check political affiliations by the Attorney General in order to protect national security

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Juries: Challenges

Under the Attorney General Guidelines 1990:

For cause: Challange an individual juror

To the array: Challanges the whole jury. R V FORD (1989) in 1993 9/12 jurors were from Romford

Prosecutions right to stand by: Put a juror to the bottom of the pile. This is used in exeptional circumstances

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Juries Role

Duties of the jury last 2 weeks (10 days) The jury must decide whether the defendant is quilty or not. They must be beyond all resonable doubt

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Juries Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Public Confidence: Judging by peers,blend of logic and sense
  • Jury equity: No legal expertise or trained. They decide based on fairness
  • Public process: The whole process is public, they deliberate in private, no one can inquire what happened in the jury room
  • Secrecy room: Decide the verdict out of pressure and they dont have to justify the verdict
  • Impartiality: Random selection process. Bias and prejudice is cancelled out


  • Lack of understanding: May be illiterate, long trials are hard to follow
  • High acquital: They are not case hardened
  • Media Influence: Influence a jurors decisions
  • Secrecy room: No reason to announce the verdict. No way of knowing if they understand the case
  • Slow and expensive: Each point is explained for the juries benefit so that they understand
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