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JURIES 1: SELECTION
HISTORY OE THE JURY SYSTEM
N The right to trial by jury can be traced back to Magna Carta (The Great
Charter of Liberties, 1215).
N The independence of the jury from the judge was established in %XVKHOO¶V
&DVH (1670).
ROLE OE THE JURY
N In criminal cases, the jury decide if the defendant is guilty or not (approx.
three per cent of all crimes, heard in the Crown Court).
N In civil cases, the jury decide if the claimant has proved their case and the
amount of damages (compensation). However, it is a right in only four
types of civil case: defamation over £10,000, malicious prosecution, false
imprisonment and fraud (under 200 trials per year). It is discretionary in
other civil cases.
QUALIEICATIONS EOR JURY SERVICE
To qualify for jury service a person must be:
(a) aged between 18 and 70;
(b) registered on the electoral roll; and
(c) have lived in the UK for at least five years since the age of 13
(s1 of the Juries Act 1974)
INELIGIBILITY, DISQUALIEICATION AND EXCUSAL
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Those suffering from mental disorders;
The judiciary and others concerned with the administration of justice;
The clergy.
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People with certain criminal convictions;
Those currently on bail in criminal proceedings.
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Anyone aged 65-70 years old;
Anyone who did jury service in the last two years;
Members of Parliament;
The medical profession;
The armed forces;
Practising members of a religious society.
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Eor a 'good reason¨.
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Because of physical disability (such as deafness) or insufficient
understanding of English.
SUMMONING JURORS
N Jury Summoning Officer has special copy of electoral register, ie names of
persons under 18 or over 70, marked.
N Jury Summoning Officer makes random list of up to 150 people.
N People summoned to attend for jury service; notice sent out explaining
grounds for ineligibility, disqualification and excusal.
N Jury Summoning Officer may question people to determine if they are
qualified for jury service.
N Jury Summoning Officer prepares lists (called panels) of jurors for various
court rooms.
N A jury of 12 selected by ballot from the panel in open court.
N A new computer summoning system is being put into operation between
September November 2000 (See LCD Press Notice, Reducing the Trials
of Jury Service).
JURY VETTING
Two types of jury vetting have been authorised:
N The checking of criminal records for convictions (5Y0DVRQ |1980] 3 All
ER 777); and
N The checking of Special Branch and Security Services records in cases
involving national security and terrorist cases (Attorney-General`s
Guidelines in 3UDFWLFH1RWH |1988] 3 All ER 1086).
CHALLENGING JURORS
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The defendant has the right to challenge the whole jury on the basis that it
has been chosen in an unrepresentative or biased way.
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The defendant and prosecution have the right to challenge all or individual
jurors on the following grounds:
N juror is not qualified to serve;
N juror is biased;
N juror may reasonably be suspected of bias.
The issue is then tried by the judge.
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The prosecution may also require any numbers of jurors to 'stand by¨, ie
not to sit on the jury unless there are insufficient members of the panel to
make up a full jury.
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Before 1989, the defence could challenge up to three jurors without giving
any reason.
CRITICISMS OE THE SELECTION OE JURIES
See Jacqueline Martin, 7KH(QJOLVK/HJDO6\VWHP, for:
1. Use of the Electoral Register
2. Multi-racial juries are not allowed (5Y)RUG (1989) but also note
the Runciman Commission (1993))
3. Disqualified jurors have been sitting
4. Too many discretionary excusals leads to an unrepresentative jury
5. The prosecution`s right of stand by` was kept even when the
defendant`s peremptory challenge was withdrawn

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