Courts overhaul planned to help juries baffled by judges
Two thirds of jurors do not understand what judges tell them about the law when they retire to consider their verdicts, according to a ground-breaking study into the secrets of the jury room. The findings will trigger an overhaul of the courts.
The investigation found that jurors frequently used the internet to read about trials on which they were sitting, risking miscarriages of justice. In 2008, juries in three Crown Court trials had to be discharged because they used the internet inappropriately.
The study, to be published today by the Ministry of Justice, found that:
• all-white juries do not discriminate against black defendants;
• juries convict more often than they acquit in rape cases;
• men sitting on juries are less likely than women to listen to arguments and change their minds;
• conviction rates in Crown Courts varied from 53 per cent to 69 per cent.
Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, did point out some time ago that he had concerns about the fact that many younger people who would serve on juries in the future were used to learning and receiving information through computers and the internet rather than listening and that the Courts, barristers and judges may well have to adapt to take account of that fact.
OUT-LAW had an interesting piece in their online magazine yesterday: MPs, Lords question human rights compatibility of Digital Economy
“The Government must provide more detail on exactly how alleged copyright infringers will be cut off from the internet before a file-sharing disconnection law is passed, according to a parliamentary committee. The Joint Committee on Human Rights has said that the Government must make the Digital Economy Bill more detailed to allow Parliament to scrutinise it properly. It said it could not rule on whether the proposed law was compatible with human rights law until those details were provided.
The Government claims that the controversial Bill complies with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act. The Committee has said that not only will Parliament need more detail before the Committee can decide on that issue, but that the Government must better demonstrate that even the notification system it proposes in relation to alleged infringers is a proportionate response…..
People often forget that lawyers do a great deal of work for free…. from the biggest City law firms to smaller practices and individual barristers. The Times has a useful piece on How to . . . make pro bono work for you
UPDATE: This from the comment section is worth following up!
I have had a little swipe at this and certain other related topical matters. Having been on a murder jury myself, I’d advise His Ludship and MiniJust to steer clear.