Outline the role or EITHER: Judges, Magistrates or Juries. Refer to the strengths and weaknesses of their role in the legal system.
Jury service is something that a person may be asked to do within their life. A jury is made up of up to 12 people, who are chosen at random from the electoral role. It is illegal for a person to refuse jury service and could be fined of up to £1,000, if they do so (www.direct.gov.uk). A juror can be excused from service but has to follow the procedure on the form and only a judge or a clerk of the court can grant permission. Only active members of the military are exempt and people with criminal records (www.osbar.org). Selection is made with people of ages 18–70. Being part of the jury service is a civil duty and helps decide the outcome of trials in a court (criminal or civil) (www.direct.gov.uk). The function of a jury is to weigh up the evidence and decide what the true facts of the case are. A judge directs them as to what is the relevant law and the jury then have to apply the law to the facts they have found and thereby reach a verdict (Elliot and Quinn, 8th Ed, 2007). A jury decides whether someone is innocent or guilty of committing a serious crime, such as, murder, burglary, rape or fraud. A juror may also be asked to sit in on a civil trial, like a personal injury claim. In order to get a verdict 10 out of the 12 have to agree (www.direct.gov.uk).
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