Trial By Jury Under The Microscope In The UK

The right to trial by jury for thousands of offences would be scrapped under plans being considered by ministers, The Times has learnt. The measure is being examined for inclusion in a White Paper next month aimed at learning the lessons of the riots last year. It would mean up to 70,000 cases a year, most of them for minor theft, being heard by magistrates rather than by a judge and jury in Crown Court. Eighty per cent of theft trials involve values of less than £200 – The London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association

CJ Gibson has quickly ‘acclimated’ to being back home. He is one of the prominent persons frequently featured in the local media and he seems very comfortable with the attention. This can be good or bad depending on ones perspective. Let us hope he is not sucked into being one of the boys.

One of the problems which has been identified by CJ Gibson on ascending office is the strain a heavy backlog of cases continue to have the effect of compromising the delivery of justice. Several suggestions to improve efficiency in the Courts have been made although CJ Gibson seems inclined to implement Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as the primary strategy. BU supports the CJ in his quest to have ADR implemented but such an approach will not resolve the issue on its own.

BU continues to monitor decisions taken in other jurisdictions which can be tweaked to fit current exigency of the local Courts . A proposal to scrap jury trials for  thousands of offences is under active consideration in the United Kingdom.   This is a proposal which is expected to be controversial by those who feel the authorities maybe cutting corners to dispense justice. The question to be asked however is whether a heavy case load which has the effect of delaying justice is not as undesirable.

Related Link:     Right to jury trial faces axe in post-riot reforms

3 thoughts on “Trial By Jury Under The Microscope In The UK

  1. I had the misfortune of sitting on a jury, in a murder trial. That trial was so rigged, you would have to be deaf in one ear and wearing sunglasses in the dark court room not to spot what was happening, with both prosecution and defense forcing the jury to a specific conclusion. I held up the decision on purpose, even thought we the (deliberating?) jury all had jobs to return to, but I would not have my time wasted in that way. I was never called to serve again. (How they find out though …?)

    To me jury trials in Barbados are not what they are what you see on TV (you know in LA Law, Boston Legal and Perry Mason). I looking for the person that got the kind ah gall to refer tah he’self as my “peer”…!

  2. Perhaps the value of a jury can be compared to ‘operating leverage’.

    It is probability wise easier to ‘get to’ one magistrate or judge then it is to get to all 12 jurors.

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