Strength of the Jury System
Jury refers to the presence of 12 persons, randomly selected into the trial procedure to be arbiters of the fact, strengthens the legal system.
The role of juries are to decide on matters of fact whereas judges decide on the matters on law. In Criminal Cases, the judge would decide on the verdict, whereas juries would decide on the sentence. In Civil cases, judge would decide on the sentence and juries would decide on the amount of damages. As they do not have legal knowledge a judge would assist them and direct them. Juries are not used in complex cases or where there is a risk of jury tempering, this is stated in the Criminal Justice Act 2003. zl
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Juries are randomly selected in the Blackfriairs crown Court. They decide on cases based on their understanding of the law and assimilating factual evidence.
Juries come from all walks of life as their qualifications are broad. The only qualification is for them to be 18 to 70 years old, live in the Channel Island, Isle of Man, Uk, since 13 for 5 years. This allows them to come from a wide representative of the society, as opposed to the judges who comes from the upper classes. Thus verdicts can be said to be of the society rather than the judicial system as allows ordinary citizens to take part in the administration of justice.
Jurors decision are independent of anyone else. Judges cannot refuse to accept jury decisions even if it is against their direction. This flexibility allows juror to make decision based on their conscience hence they can bring in decision that genuine justice deserves. In Pontings Case, the defendant had leaked information that violated the Official Secrets Act. Although there was no defence, Jury refsed to convict. This shows that jury may be able to fill in the gaps of the law.
Juror decision are independent of the judge and anyone else. They don’t have to explain their reasons for decision which allows them to make decisions that reflect their conscience and which genuine justice deserves.
The judge cannot interfere with the jury decision and cannot refuse to accept a decision that is In congtrast to his legal guidance. For example, in Bushell’s case, the jury was shut up without food or drink as the judge refused to accept the jury verdict. The jury was released on Habeas Corpus and it was held that the judge must accept jury verdict once it is given. This promotes the independence of the jury in making decisions.
Secrecy of the jury which forbids the jury from revealing anything said or done during their deliberations as it allows jury to bring in unpopular verdicts, promotes freedom of expression and strengthens juror role in coming to a fair decision as they do not fear to be harassed by the public Secrecy of the jury forbids the jury from disclosing what happened during their deliberations. This allows jury to bring in unpopular verdicts, promotes freedom of expression and strengthens jurors role to come to a decision that is fair and sentiment as they do not always fear to be harrassed by the public.