• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Who is and who isn't eligible for jury service within the English legal system. And how is a jury selected. How effective is trial by jury? Consider any alternatives and suggest improvements.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Who is and who isn't eligible for jury service within the English legal system. And how is a jury selected. How effective is trial by jury? Consider any alternatives and suggest improvements. For many years "the jury" have decided cases in the Crown Court. When a defendant pleads not guilty a jury is sworn in to hear the case and come to a verdict. Now people are considering whether trial by jury is a fair and just way of reaching the verdict. In the Crown Court, when a defendant pleads not guilty, a jury is sworn in to decide whether the defendant is guilty or not. Juries are used in less than one per cent of all criminal trials. This essay will examine who is and isn't eligible for jury service within the English legal system and other things related to it. A jury is a group of twelve men and woman legally chosen to hear a case and decide facts from the evidence presented in the case. Juries are used in both certain civil and criminal courts. Certain qualifications are needed to be eligible for jury service; the person must be aged between eighteen and seventy years. They must be registered to vote on the electoral register and also must have been a resident in the United Kingdom for at least five years since reaching the age of thirteen. Certain people can also be disqualified from jury service due to The Juries Act 1974 and The Juries Disqualification's Act 1984. ...read more.

Middle

Another reason why juries are popular is that they do not have to agree with the judge. Even if the judge tells the jury that the defendant has no defence they can acquit the accused, something similar happened in R. v. Mckeena. In this case the jury was pressurised by the judge, the defendants conviction was quashed on appeal because the judge at the trial threatened the jury that if they did not return with a verdict within ten another minutes they would be locked up for the night. A jury can refuse to operate a law which they feel is unjust, this happened in a case of Clive Ponting (1985), he admitted his guilt but he did the crime for the good of the country. A jury may not come up with a legally correct verdict every time but a just one. Lord Devlin once said that the jury is "the lamp that shows that freedom lives" due to cases like Ponting. There is also public confidence in the use of juries. There are also many disadvantages of having a trial by jury. Although jury selection, in theory, is a random selection process, often certain groups of people are not fully represented, these include younger people and people of ethnic minorities. The Runciman Commission (1993) on the criminal justice system, proposed that in some cases, if random selection did not provide a multi-racial jury, then the jury should be deliberately chosen to make the jury a cross-section of society. ...read more.

Conclusion

It would be very expensive. Another alternative could be to use a judge and two lay assessors, it would eliminate the slowness and cost of using a jury as well as keeping in public involvement. All three (two lay assessors and the judge), eliminating problems of lack of understanding could make the decision. The Judge would put in the legal input and the lay people would consider the facts. It would be quicker and cheaper compared to trial by jury, however, there would not be as larger cross section of society involved. The final alternative could be to have a judge and a mini-jury. This system would bring down the cost, by having less jurors, there could still be personal bias though. This technique is used in America in less serious cases. There are still disadvantages to all of these alternatives. In conclusion, the people that finally do the jury service are randomly chosen, however, the people in a jury do not often represent a fair cross section of the public. This could cause bias. Trial by jury should be a fair trial, but jurors can be a subject to bribes and they can be intimidated in some cases causing bias. The number of people/groups that do not have to do jury service could be seen as very large, the people that end up doing jury service are often middle class, middle aged and middle minded so to speak. The most viable alternative to trial by jury is having a Judge and two lay assessors as the public is still involved, its cheaper and faster. Law Coursework Carl Gelibter ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree English Legal System section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree English Legal System essays

  1. Critically analyse the effectiveness of lay people and compare and contrast the roles played ...

    and it is alleged that this results in an almost automatic tendency to believe police evidence. This view gained greater credibility when one magistrate was reckless enough to admit it in R v Bingham JJ ex parte Jowitt (1974): a speeding case where the only evidence was that of the motorist and a police constable.

  2. Should the jury trial be abolished?

    A study done by McCabe & Purves looked at 173 acquitals and concluded that 9% defied the evidence. Proposed Alternatives Up to this point I have concentrated on the jury system and some of the problems that have been associated with it and some proposals for future change.

  1. Assess the value of lay decision-making in the criminal justice system by reference to ...

    Is the Jury professional enough to maintain Justice? The issue of jury bias was considered by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Sander v United Kingdom 2001. The applicant had been convicted by a jury which, he argued, had demonstrated racial bias.

  2. The Jury System.

    The juries are used for Criminal and Civil cases, despite the importance of juries in the Criminal Justice system they only operate in a minority of cases. Criminal offences are classified into three groups: summary only offences, which are tried in the crown court.

  1. The Jury System - Selection.

    The Judge oversees the legal aspects of the case. A jury must return a unanimous verdict if possible if not a majority verdict of 11 to 1 or 10 to 2 will be accepted providing the jury has discussed the case for at least 2 hours 10 minutes (the 10 minutes was originally for the walk between the jury box and the jury room)

  2. This essay will discuss the flaws with the current jury system regarding ethnic composition ...

    Justice Lord Taylor, in his speech to NACRO reported in The Guardian in 1999, criticised the proposals for ethnically balanced jury as "attractive sounding, but deeply flawed", "the thin edge of a particularly insidious wedge" and insisted that there is no reason for "nibbling away at the principle of random

  1. Whilst many people define the English legal System by their perceptions of jury trials, ...

    It must therefore be questioned why jury trials are reserved for a minority of cases[5]. The crown court is the main court that sees the use of juries on a day to day basis. However even in this court, juries are rarely used.

  2. Identify the most significant roles performed by the trial judge.

    When deciding on discretion consideration has to be taken in accordance with Article 6 of the ECHR (right to a fair trial). Directing jury: A significant role for the judge would be directing the jury. When both parties have presented their version of the case, it is the judge?s role

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work