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Scarbrems


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Juries: should we have them?


Recently, the UK judicial system has come under question in re: the validity of juries.

The argument, as I understand it, is that asking 12 lay people to assess evidence when they potentially have no real knowledge of how to do that and tend to be swayed emotionally irrespective of the evidence put before them is an ineffective method. It has been proposed that decisions should be made by a judge who has been trained to understand what is and is not pertinent evidence and will, through training, be less likely to be swayed by pre conceived emotions pertaining to the nature of the case.

Advocates for this idea point to other countries which don't use juries, such as South Africa. The feeling is that reviewing evidence needs a trained eye. That there would be fewer miscarriages of justice if this were the case.

I'm not sure. I haven't researched the stats for miscarriage of justice with juries versus without. I would be concerned about the danger of judges being paid to reach a certain decision in a way that can't happen with an unpaid jury. It concerns me that this way may be more open to corruption, and it is interesting to note that those promoting this are lawyers and judges, but I don't really know enough about it.

Since most of us here are from nations with trial by jury systems, what do you think?


CD Richards

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RE: Juries: should we have them?

No, no and no.

Not only is there the massive potential for judges to be bought, there is the simple fact that judges, like all other humans, are fallible. They, too, have their own prejudices, lack of expertise in areas relevant to the case, and failures of logic. The likelihood of 12 people being bribed or exercising poor judgement in the same direction is less, in my opinion, than one person, however well trained.

One idea which springs to mind is that perhaps juries could consist of a mix of both lay people and judges. That way both the law and common sense, which are not necessarily the same thing, could be represented.

Of course, that would result in extra expense, but perhaps that could be mitigated in other ways -- for example in fewer appeals of rulings, and not so many frivolous cases.


CD Richards

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RE: Juries: should we have them?
Another option that springs to mind is simply to issue the opposing parties with guns and let them sort it out. We all know that the guys in the white hats are invariably better shooters than the guys in the black hats. Problem solved. The good guys win.

Scarbrems


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RE: Juries: should we have them?
Well, haha at your last answer, but your first answer, that's broadly how I view it.

   



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