Juries

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  • Created by: Bethany
  • Created on: 24-10-12 18:52

Basic Qualifications

Qualifications of Jury service were revised in 1972 by the Morris committee report on jury service

The Present qualifications are set out in the Juries Act 1974:

  • Aged between 18-70
  • Registered as a parliamentary or local government elector
  • Ordinarily resident in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least five years since their thirteenth birthday and must not be:
  • a mentally disordered person or
  • disqualified from jury service 
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Disqualifications

Certain criminal convictions can disqualify them from jury service; this depends on the type and length of the sentence. To be disqualified permanently from jury service they must have been sentenced to:

  • Imprisonment for life, detention for life or custody for life
  • detention during Her Majesty's pleasure or during the pleasure of secretary of state
  • to imprisonment for public protection or detention for the public protection 
  • an extended sentence 
  • a term of imprisonment of five years or more or a term of detention of five years or more

Those in the following categories are disqualified for 10 years:

  • at any time in the last ten years served a sentence of imprisonment
  • at any time in the last ten years had a suspended sentence passed on them
  • at any time n the past ten years had a community order or other community sentence passed on them
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Excusal from Jury service

Members of the forces

Full -time serving members may be excused from jury service if their commanding officer sees that their absence from duty  would be prejudical the efficiency of the service

Discretionary excusals

Reasons such as being too ill, Suffering from a disability, being a mother with a small baby will allow the court to push back to a later date.Other reasons include Business appointments, examinations or holidays that have been booked.

If a person is not excused from jury service they must attend on the date set or they may be fined up to £1000

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Selecting a Jury

Jurors are selected at random from the electoral registers- this is done by a computer.

The court will select more than the needed 12 because it is unknown how many of these will be disqualified

The selected must then notify the court if there is a problem and if not they are expected to turn up and attend 2 weeks jury service

The list of potential jurors is shown to both the prosecution and the defense they then may be vetted (checked fr suitability the two types are Police Checks  and Juror background check)

The jurors are split into groups of 15 and the court clerk will choose 12 of these if there is not enough Jurors the court can 'Praise the Talesman' which is picking random qualified individuals of the street

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Criticisms of the selection of Juries

  • Use of electoral register 
  • Random selection 
  • Disqualified jurors
  • Excusals
  • Prosecutions right of stand by
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Advantages of jury trial

  • Public Confidence
  • Jury Equity
  • Open system of justice
  • Secrecy of the jury room
  • Impartiality
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Disadvantages of jury trial

  • Perverse decisions
  • Secrecy
  • Radical Bias
  • Media Influence
  • Lack of understanding
  • Fraud Trials
  • Jury Tampering
  • High Acquittal rates
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