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Juries Essay

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Juries Essay Juries have been used in our legal system for over 1000 years since the Magna Carta which recognised the right to trail by "the lawful judgment of his peers." Since 1215 juries became the usual method of trying criminal cases. The independence of the jury was recognized in Bushell's case (1670) when it was established that the judge could not challenge the decision made. Juries are used in both Criminal and Civil cases although the use of juries is very small. Juries are used in the Crown Court for criminal trials of indictment, High Court - Queen's Bench Division, County Court and in some cases the Coroners' Courts. Less than 1% of criminal cases are decided on by a jury this is because 97% of cases are dealt by the Magistrates' Court and from the cases that go to the Crown Court, about two out of three defendants plead guilty. Juries in criminal cases are used to decide the guilt or innocence of the defendant. Juries are used in civil cases to decide the liability and on the damages for the following cases; deformation, malicious prosecution, fraud and false imprisonment. ...read more.


anytime been sentenced to life imprisonment, imprisonment for public protection, detention during her Majesty's pleasure, sentenced to an extended sentence or been imprisoned for five years or more. Also if a person has in the last ten years served any part of an imprisonment sentence, had a community order, rehabilitation order or a drug order. Some people by law are given permission to be excused from jury. The following have the right to be excused from jury service for their period of service to be put back to a later date; if you have been on a jury in the last 2 years, are a full time serving member of Her Majesty's navel, military or air forces, you have insufficient understanding of English, have care responsibilities, are a practising member of a religious society with beliefs incompatible with jury service, have valid business reasons or you can also have deferral rather than excusal if you have holidays booked or exams in that time period. If a person is not excused but does not attend they may be fined up to �1000. ...read more.


They can challenge to the array - section 5 Juries Act 1974 - this is when they challenge the whole jury because they believe it is biased or unrepresentative of the population. Such cases that this has happened is the Romford Jury (1993) and R v Ford (1989) although in this case it went ahead as the jury had been chosen at random. They can also challenge for cause, where the prosecution or defence will challenged an individual juror with a valid reason. An example of this type of challenge was R v Wilson and R v Sprason (1995) as the judge did not allow one of the jurors to be excused from the case, it went to appeal and the convictions had to be quashed. Finally the prosecution has an extra right to "standby" a juror. They can ask for one member to be put to the back of the list with no reason. If not all the members of the jury turn up on the day of trial then a random selection of someone from the nearby area can be chosen. This person will have quick vetting procedures done and will then have to sit on the full two weeks of the jury. ...read more.

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