what are they

  • Jury service- important public duty
  • Around 200,000 people each year perform jury service
  • Only small percentage of criminal cases use a jury
  • Crown court- criminal cases on indictment
  • High court- Queen’s Bench diversion (some civil cases)
  • County court (some civil cases)
  • Coroners court (some cases) e.g. Mark Duggan’s case
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Criminal cases

Listen to evidence

Decide the verdict –considered in private no other person may be present in the room and contact only permitted by giving a note to the usher

What happens in the jury room must remain a secret- s8 contempt of court act

May return to court room for guidance from judge- no additional evidence is allowed

The Forman of the jury speaks for the jury when delivering the verdict   

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Civil cases

Decide liability- has the defendant or claimant won

Decide the amount of damages payable

In the coroners court decide the cause of death 

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Auld report 01 identified that many experienced people were being excluded/ excused from jury service

Report wanted to see jury service become compulsory public duty for all to stop MC professionals for opting out

Gove accepted these recommendations CJA 03/ schedule amended the juries act 74

Potential jury members must be; 

  • 18-70
  • On the electrical register 
  • Resident in UK for at least 5 years 
  • Not a mentally disorder person/ disqualified from jury service 
  • Certain criminal convections 
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Auld report also recommended

Those potential jurors should not be selected from the electoral register

Many people not registered to vote

To reach as many people as possible as possible it was propose that a range of public maintained lists/ directories should be used – Gove not adopted this recommendation     

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selection of a jury


Prospective jurors can be checked prior to a trial- called vetting

2 type’s routine police checks on prospective jurors to eliminate those disqualified

2 political vetting- a wider check is made on a jurors background and political affilations only used in terrorist cases involving official secretes  

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 Most of the grounds of ineligibility excusal been removed by criminal justice act 03

Only military personal can be excluded from jury service  

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advantages of juries

The jury system opens up the system to the general public- juries allow citizens to take part in the administration of justice- system  would be closed by allowing people to take part in the judicial process the system becomes more accountable

The jury protects the liberty of the citizens against the state (jury equity) often jurors will order an acquittal even if legally the defendant would be convicted- e.g. RV Pointing

The defendant is tried by his peers- important for public confidence- right trial by jury seen as a fundamental right in a democratic society 

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  • Racial bias and other prejudice - risked due to not knowing how the decision is made bias can be a particular problem in liberal cases- juries may be against ethnic minority defendants  

Juries tend to be prejudiced against ht newspapers and award high level damages

  • Media influence- media coverage may influence the a jury- RV West
  • Lack of understanding some juries will find it difficult to understand cases and follow what is happin gin court – the Vicky Price trail
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Alternatives to jury trial

Trial by a single judge- majority of civil cases

Trial by panel of judges

Trial by a judge plus a panel of lay magistrates  

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