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Trial by jury has no place in modern Britain - Essay Example

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Current paper focuses on the reasons for which trial by jury is not appropriate for the English courts, at least not anymore. Relevant literature is used in order to prove that trial by jury should be abolished in the English legal system, since its drawbacks have become more than its benefits…
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Trial by jury has no place in modern Britain
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Download file to see previous pages The system of jury trial has been related to the common law. In fact, Norman kings have promoted the specific process sending their judges ‘to preside at jury trials’ (Spooner 2006, p.88). In the above context, the objectivity of the court was ensured through the following practice: the public could choose ‘four people to sit with them’ (Spooner 2006, p.88). Magna Carta has enforced the specific rule in order to ensure that judge will not influence the jury (Spooner 2006). Saxons did not accept the interference of king’s judges with the jury, aiming to keep the court independence from the ruling of the king (Spooner 2006). Today, a similar approach can be used for justifying the non-appropriateness of jury trial in English law. Due to its structure, the English legal system ensures the objectivity in trial, at least at higher level than other legal systems worldwide where the use of jury in trials often causes severe problems in the court procedure.
The presence of juries in trial has been, traditionally, considered as a measure for ensuring equality in terms of law, i.e. to ensure that the decision of the court will be fair both for the perpetrator and the public, meaning that no punishment will be imposed unless the person considered as the perpetrator has, indeed, committed the offense involved. It is for this reason that in trial with juries the defendant is given plenty of time in order to present all the evidence available; in this way it is ensured that the crime will be fairly and appropriately evaluated by the jury. In practice, the participation of juries in trials has led to ‘verdicts, which have protected the personal rights’ (Hosterttler 2004, p.155). However, it cannot be stated that trial by jury always lead to the correct verdict or that juries ‘protect the law’ (Hosterttler 2004, p.155). Such perception cannot be acceptable taking into consideration the involvement of other individuals in critical parts of each trial, especially the judge in directing the trial and the lawyers in presenting/ analyzing the evidence involved. From this point of view it could be noted that juries are not indispensable part of criminal law. In the English legal system this view could be also applied, especially since in the particular system, due to its structure and its principles is quite difficult to lead to failures in regard to the evaluation of evidence, minimizing the risks for wrong verdicts. Currently, criminal trials in the English legal system are based on the trial jury, but not necessarily. In minor offences, these that are heard before the magistrate’s courts, the offender has the right to choose between ‘a trial before the magistrate court and a trial by jury before the Crown Court’ (Erastus-Obilo 2009, p.41). On the other hand, in more serious offences, the offender does not have such option. The trial is heard necessarily ‘by judge and the jury’ (Erastus – Obilo 2009, p.41). Moreover, the power of jury as factors determining the cases cannot be ignored. In fact, the verdict cannot replace the judgment of the court, but the verdict is the basis for the development of the judgment. From this point of view, the current role of jury in the English legal system is critical. 3. Benefits and implications of the trial by jury The use of the jury system in England has been combined with the principle of liberty; more specifically, the presence of juries in trials in England reflected the liberty of people to participate in important issues related to the law, which, as its name notes, is common among all people in terms of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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