"Jury tradition is not only about the right of a citizen to elect trial but also about the juror's duty of citizenship", said Baroness Helena Kennedy - explain how jurors are chosen for trial - comment on the advantages and disadvantages of trial by jury.

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Danielle Constantine

Julie Swann

“Jury tradition is not only about the right of a citizen to elect trail but also about the juror’s duty of citizenship”, said Baroness Helena Kennedy (speaking in a House of Lords debate in September 2000).

  1. Explain how jurors are chosen for jury duty 15 marks)
  2. Comment on the advantages and disadvantages of trial by jury (15 marks)

Juries have been used in the legal system for over 1,000 years. There is evidence that they were often used in the Norman Conquest. However, in 1215 when trail by ordeal was condemned by the church and (in the same year) Magna Carta included the recognition of a person’s right to trail by ‘the lawful judgement of his peers’, juries became the usual method of trying criminal cases. Originally jurors were used for providing local knowledge and information, and acted more as witnesses than decision makers. By fifteenth century juries were independent assessors and assumed there modern role as deciders of fact.

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        Jurors are summoned by an official at the crown court. It is there responsibility to summon enough jurors to try each case that will be heard in each two week period. The official is in charge of arranging names to be selected at random from the electoral registers, for the area of which the court is covered by. The selection is done by a computer selection in the central office. It is essential that the official summons more than 12 jurors as most court have more than one court room and it is not known how many summonsed are disqualified, ...

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