In the common law countries, the jury takes a more prominent part in the judicial process than in the romano-civilist countries. The roots of the common law jury are archaic, but it has managed to survive, and to a considerable extent to thrive. In many common law countries, the right to trial by jury is cherished and its legitimacy is widely accepted. One can even say the jury has had a great influence in the non-common law countries, since some countries such as Spain has recently re-introduced the jury for some criminal trials. But the jury remains a specificity of the common law countries, as we will analyze it. To what extent can we say that the law governing jury in England and in the US differs? Indeed, despite common origins, the jury in the two influential common law countries follow different paths.
[...] The common law jury through the example of England and the United States In the common law countries, the jury takes a more prominent part in the judicial process than in the romano-civilist countries. The roots of the common law jury are archaic but it has managed to survive, and to a considerable extent to thrive. In many common law countries, the right to trial by jury is cherished and its legitimacy is widely accepted. One can even say the jury has had a great influence in the non common law countries, since some countries such as Spain has recently reintroduced the jury for some criminal trials. [...]
[...] But today, the two jury have evolved towards different paths in both England and the United States. II . But two different paths A. The jury in England It is paradoxical that the jury in England on the one hand is a venerated institution defended as an ancient right but on the other hand that its influence steadily decreased over the past century. First of all, unlike in the USA, the right to trial by jury is not constitutionally enshrined but is governed by ordinary parliamentary statute which can be altered by a simple act of Parliament. [...]
[...] The Supreme Court has interpreted the right to a jury trial guaranteed by the Constitution. For instance, although the sixth amendment promises a jury all criminal prosecutions”, the Supreme Court has not required courts to provide juries for minor offenses. But the legislations concerning the cases that should be heard by a jury differ. Moreover, according to the Supreme Court, to comply with the sixth amendment, a jury must be composed of at least six jurors. The jury is pre-selected randomly by computer, from the list of registered voters. [...]
[...] The challenge for cause is aimed at ensuring an “impartial” jury and it is, unlike in England, widely used. For instance to 25% of potential jurors are excused for cause. The peremptory challenge is much more criticized and some legislatures have restricted its use. Some people argue that the peremptory challenge promotes reliance on “jury experts” and thus exacerbates the inequalities between the parties. Nevertheless, despite the criticisms, the peremptory challenge remains very used, which is a specificity of the USA. [...]
[...] Indeed, the Roskil Committee recommended that complex fraud trial should be tried by a fraud trials tribunal instead of being tried by juries. Concerning the criminal field, from to of all trials are heard by a jury. The vast majority of criminal cases are tried in the magistrates' courts, as you know. There are 2 conditions for a jury to try a criminal case: the case must be heard in the Crown Court and the defendant must plead not guilty. In England, the jury is composed of 12 jurors. The jurors are randomly selected from the electoral register. [...]
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