The jury plays a crucial role in the courts of trial. They are an integral part in the Australian justice system. The jury system brings ordinary people into the courts everyday to judge whether a case is guilty or innocent. The role of the jury varies, depending on the different cases. In Australia, the court is ran by an adversary system. In this system “..individual litigants play a central part, initiating court action and largely determining the issues in dispute” (Ellis 2013, p. 133). In this essay I will be discussing the role of the jury system and how some believe the jury is one of the most important institutions in ensuring that Australia has an effective legal system, while others disagree. I will evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a jury system.
A jury system inquires fairness in a court case. A jury is “A group of citizens called to hear a trial of a criminal prosecution of a lawsuit, decide the factual questions of guilt or innocence or determine the prevailing party (winner) in a lawsuit and the amount to be paid, if any, by the loser” (Law.com Legal Dictionary 2014). As a jury member they are obligated to tell the truth and give an honest response. The jury system randomly selects 12 people for each court case. Once you are 18 years old and registered you can be selected for jury service. There are two categories of people who cannot serve and that is people who are excluded from the jury roll and who are exempt from jury service (NSW Government 2014). Those who are excluded are people with criminal convictions and who hold high positions in public office. Those exempted are due to their employment (NSW Government 2014). As a jury member you are expected to dress appropriately, be honest, and give full attention to the case you are chose for. In the jury system there are many key concepts.
As a jury member you are obligated to understand the key concepts. Jury members need to “..consider the evidence presented to the trial without preconceived opinions about the defendant’s guilt or innocence, to apply the governing law as instructed by the trial judge..” (Fitzpatrick 2013, p. 10-11). Meaning not to judge the defendant and have an open mind to the case. Also, needing to apply the instructions and regulations the court delivered before hand to jury members. Reading a judicial guide with detailed instructions before the case is also a key concept. In the USA the judicial directions are much shorter to the jury than in Australia (Barnett & Gray 2010). This is because Australia goes over the information more in-depth and with more instructions. As a jury member it is there role to secure and maintain public confidence in the justice system (Barnett & Gray 2010). This makes them a very important aspect to the courts. There are many advantages to the jury system that ensures Australia has an effective legal system.
Being a jury member, power is given to you. “The jury trial can comprise an element of participatory...