Personnel in the English Legal System
Early jurors in England acted as witnesses providing sources of information on local affairs. But they gradually came to be used as adjudicators in both civil and criminal disputes.
Gradually it became accepted that a juror should know as little as possible about the facts of a case before its trial. This is still the position today.
The juror is a very important body of highly capable and well-trusted individuals that decide the facts a particular case and assists the judge in deliberating on the same.
Lord Devlin stated:
“Trial by jury is more than instrument of justice and more than a wheel”.
Jury plays a vital role in the criminal justice system, but the constitution position in England is vulnerable because of the unwritten constitution, the right to trial by jury is not written in the constitution.
Juries Act 1974 is the main statute governing the present day jury.
Currently, the role of the English jury is almost entirely limited to the more serious criminal cases, but juries occasionally sit in civil trials as well.
The function of the jury:
The function of the jury is to look at the evidence and to decide what the true facts of the case are or what actually happened.
The judge gives the direction to the jury on the relevant law, and the jury has to apply them to the facts of the case in order to reach a verdict.
If it is a criminal case and the jury has given a verdict of guilty, then the judge will decide an appropriate sentence.
In civil cases, juries’ role is to decide on how much money should a person be awarded in damages.
The jury in criminal cases:
Although juries are very important, in the criminal justice system, they actually deal only in a minority of the cases.
Jury can try a case in the Crown Court, and if the defendant pleads not guilty and the trial proceeds further, they will be tried before jury.
Jury trial has been under attack in the recent years. Governments have attempted to reduce the use of juries’ in