Description of a jury trial in an english court, how effective they are and some criticisms.

Essay by abz_High School, 11th gradeA-, October 2005

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What is a jury?

All cases of serious criminal offences are tried by a jury.

-A jury is a panel of 12 people who listen to the evidence presented in a court case and then give a verdict on the guilt or innocence of the person or persons on trial.

-The members of the jury are impartial, they don't know anyone in the trial and don't care about the result

-Their verdict is based solely on the evidence they have heard.

There are also a few civil (i.e. non-criminal) cases in which juries are involved, such as inquests and libel trials.

-In civil cases the jury is usually made up of eight people.

Who can serve on a jury?

Everyone in the United Kingdom who is on the electoral roll can be summoned for jury service if they are aged between 18 and 70 and have lived in the UK for a period of at least five years since they were 13 years old.

Some people, however, are ineligible for jury service. This might be because of their work (e.g. judges and priests), or because they are mentally ill. Some people are disqualified from jury service because they have committed a crime themselves and been imprisoned or put on probation.

It is illegal to serve on a jury if you know you are ineligible or disqualified, and anyone who does can be fined heavily.

Some people also have the right to be excused from jury service. This category includes:

-Those over 65

-Members of the UK or European Parliament

-Members of the armed forces

-Those who have served on a jury in the previous two years

What does jury service involve?

If called upon for jury service, you are usually expected to serve for ten working days, although you can...