Jury Secrecy in Uk

Jury Secrecy in Uk

  • Submitted By: apri
  • Date Submitted: 01/20/2009 5:51 PM
  • Category: Miscellaneous
  • Words: 3401
  • Page: 14
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The Jury System

One of the major component of the British legal system is the jury system. The presence of '12 good men and true' gave the assumption that it strengthens the legitimacy of the legal system. Each year, around 250,000 Britons were called up to serve as jury, according to statistics by the Department of Constitutional Affair. It is said that the jury is the last bastion that guards the liberty of the accused and also to prevent total control of the proceedings by the barristers in case trials. It was further argued that courts in UK had taken the presumption that the jurors will behave in a proper manner as an 'ideal' or 'model' jury[1].

The Jury Secrecy Rule

In order for these laymen to discharge their duties as best as possible, one of the mechanism set in place was the jury secrecy principle. Jury secrecy has long been accepted as a convention rules , in which jurors should not divulge what occurs during their deliberations in the jury room[2]. In the UK courts, there is a notice in the following terms in jury rooms:

'To members of the jury. Her Majesty’s judges remind you of the solemn obligation upon you not to reveal, in any circumstances, to any person, either during the trial or after it is over, anything relating to it which has occurred in this room while you have been considering your verdict[3].'

This rule has been challenged a few times as the media's role became more active in divulging information on jury's deliberations. In 1968, the Criminal Law Revision Committee recommended that, although the convention of keeping jury room deliberations confidential should continue to be observed, legislation to protect the secrecy of the jury room was not desirable[4]. However, it came to the fore in the case of the Attorney General v New Statesmen Nation Publishing Co Ltd[5], where the defendant published a juror's account of the deliberations held in the jury room during a high profile case of a homosexual politician. In...

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