Juries in the English Legal System
Juries are also used in certain civil cases such as defamation,
slander and false imprisonment.
When used in cases they have to decide weather the claimant has
successfully proved his or her claim, they also decide the amount of
money that is awarded in damages, this differs from the criminal
court, where the only decision is whether the defendant is guilty or
Jury are lay persons they are non-qualified in law. The jury system
dates back to after the Norman Conquest in Britain and throughout
centuries it has developed to become a fundamental part of the English
legal system. The Magna-Charta recognised the persons rights to trial
by the "Lawful judgement of his peers" this became a usual method of
trying criminal cases the notable case of "Bushel 1670" established
independent of the jury, in Bushels case where several of the juries
refused to bring in a guilty verdict against Quakers who were charged
with unlawful assembly they pleaded not guilty, the judge ordered to
not accept the not guilty claim instead they were all fined and sent
to prison they then appealed to the court of appeal "Court Of Common
Pleas" they ordered to release the jury and said they can not be
punished due to the verdict.
Another case is "McKenna 1960" the judge said bring a verdict in ten
minutes or they will be locked up all night and the jury came to the
verdict of guilty they then appealed to the court of appeal. The court
of appeal decided the judge had interfered with the jury in the
exercise of their duty they had quashed the conviction.
The court of appeal can decide that the appeal has succeeded, in that
case it will probably quash the conviction but it can also decide that
no miscarriage of justice has occurred and allows the conviction to
stand, it can decide the appeal has not been made out and the
The court of appeal has power to order retrial in certain
circumstances where it would be grossly unjust to quash the conviction
and allow the convict to go free.
Modern day use of jury in England involves only a small percentage of
cases and the jury is used in the following courts:
·The crown court for: Criminal trials for Indictment.
·The high court in the Queen's Bench division for: Slander, Defamation
and False Imprisonment.
In the crown court they decide the verdict in serious criminal cases
There are 12 jury members in panelled, the number can be reduced to 9
never lower than 9, they are required to bring a anonymous verdict but
if after the period of time which the judge will decide they are not
able to agree then the judge will give them position to bring a
majority verdict this means a split of 11:1 or 10:2 if...