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English Legal System

English Legal System (4th edn)

Steve Wilson, Helen Rutherford, Tony Storey, Natalie Wortley, and Birju Kotecha
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date: 08 February 2023

p. 36210. The jurylocked

p. 36210. The jurylocked

  • Steve Wilson, Steve WilsonFormer Principal Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Helen Rutherford, Helen RutherfordSenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Tony Storey, Tony StoreySenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Natalie WortleyNatalie WortleyAssociate Professor, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  •  and Birju KotechaBirju KotechaSenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle


The jury consists of twelve randomly selected members of the public, who decide guilt or innocence in the most serious criminal trials in the Crown Court. This ensures that the general public are represented in the criminal justice system. This chapter explains the rules on eligibility for, and disqualification or excusal from, jury service. It considers issues such as the power of the jury to acquit in defiance of the evidence (‘jury equity’); the confidentiality of jury deliberations and the implications of that for appeals; the ethnic composition of a jury; the rights of both prosecution and defence to challenge jurors; jury vetting; whether juries should be excluded from certain trials, such as those involving serious fraud or where there is evidence of jury ‘tampering’; whether the accused should be able to ‘waive’ their right to jury trial; and the impact of social media on jury trials. It concludes by examining the relative advantages and disadvantages of jury trials.

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