Juries

Topics: Jury, Jury trial, Common law Pages: 1 (368 words) Published: August 26, 2013
The jury trial is often considered to be one of the most controversial elements of the criminal justice system in UK and Wales. Although for many people trial by jury seems to be the fairest and the most unbiased way of establishing the person’s guilt or innocence, the practice shows that this method has many disadvantages and may cause serious concerns in the society. In this small research we shall try to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the jury trial and describe further perspectives of using it in criminal cases. Trial by jury was first introduced in the 12th century by king Henry II, who set up a system where twelve free independent people assigned to arbitrate the land disputes. Since that time the system has gone through significant changes and was completely formed by the end of the 18th century (Cairns & McLeod, 2002). After the complete establishment of the jury trial it operated without any remarkable changes, but at the end of the 20th century the public attention was drawn again to the problems connected with jury reliability, rationality, experience and bias. The publication of the “Criminal Courts Review” by Lord Justice Auld in 2001 was a crucial argument in the discussions concerning the future of the jury trial. The document proved that the role of the jury trial should be revised and the system must be improved in order to provide fair judgments (Sanders & Young, 2004). This report presented the main drawbacks of the existing trial system – poor ethnic minority representation, lack of experienced jurors who represent different social layers and the game character of the trial process, where the truth is not so important as victory (Davies et al., 2010). The recommendations given in this review were partly brought into life with the adoption of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which altered greatly the jury system in UK and Wales and introduced the following innovations: 1) jury trial was not to be used for certain fraud cases and...
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