Criminal Courts and Juries

Criminal Courts; Summary, Triable Either Way, Indictable offences.

Juries; Qualifications, Excused, Deferrals, Challenges, Roles, Secerecy of the Jury Room

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  • Created by: Emma
  • Created on: 20-12-12 11:26

Criminal Courts

  • Summary Offence - 'Least Serious' and takes places in the Magistrates Court. Examples include Common Assault and Criminal Damage which has caused less than £5000 in damages.
  • Triable Either Way - 'Middles Seriousness' and takes place in either the Magistrates Court OR The Crown Court. Examples include theft and assault causing actual bodily harm. During Pre-Trial Procedures the defendant will be asked if they are pleading guilty or not guilty. If they plead not guilty, they have the RIGHT to trial by jury.
  • Indictable - 'Most Serious' and takes place in The Crown Court. Examples are Murder, Manslaughter and Rape. Pre-Trial Procedures include a prelimanary hearing at the Magistrates Court. All cases must be tried by Judge and Jury.
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Qualifications of Juries

Basic Qualifications

  • 18-70 Years Old
  • Registered to vote
  • Resident in the UK for at least 5 years since the age of 13      


  • Sentenced to 5 years or more imprisonment = disqualified for life
  • Served prison sentence, suspended sentence, community service order = disqualified for 10 years
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Excusals and Deferrals

Excused as of Right 

  • Armed forces with approval from their Senior Commanding Officer

Excused by a Judge

  • Visual or hearing impediments

Discretionary Deferrals

  • Pregnancy, Illness, business commitments or other 'good reason'



In the Criminal Justice Act 2003, the inelegebility and right of excusal of Jury Service was removed for a number of groups; 65-69 year olds, MPs, Clergys, Medical Proffesionals.

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Challenges to a Jury

Standby for the Crown

This allows the juror to put at the end of the list of potential jurors so they will not be used unless there are not enough other jurors.

Challenge for Cause

This is Challenging the right of an individual to sit on the Jury. For example, if a jury member knows or is related to the witness or defendant.

Challenge to the Array

The right to challenge is given under section 5 of the Juries Act 1974. It is a challenge to the whole jury on the basis that it has been chosen in an unrepresentative or biased way.

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