Australia's Unfair Legal System

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Australia's Unfair Legal System

In theory all jury systems (which have existed for almost 800 years) are fair and just.

The jury system originated in England and has so far failed in cases (all too common) when defendants are wrongfully prosecuted or convicted of crimes which they did not commit. In societies without a jury system, panels of judges act as decision makers.

They weigh the evidence and apply the law. In the court system, criminal law is interpreted by a jury who are seen as expressing the sense of justice of ordinary men and women. Juries date back to the Middle Ages in England, and while membership, role, and importance have changed throughout the ages, they were part of the system of England’s Common Law. The purpose of the jury system was to ensure the civil rights of the ordinary citizen. It is important to remember that at the time, ordinary people had few rights.

I believe that the jury system is an unfair system due to the limitations which are included during jury selection. Many professionals and groups of people are exempt from jury service: police or anyone dealing with the law (law student, lawyer, judges, assessors), anyone dealing in medicine (doctors, nurses), small or large business owners Pregnant women or women in general can claim special considerations, along with; teachers, accountants, ministers of religion, or generally anyone with a professional/education. So due to this, people who serve on a jury can be unemployed or part of a less educated and informed strata of society.

Due to such limitations within the jury selection process, it is hardly said to be a fair and just system. In Europe, defendants are always tried by judges and assessors which I believe to be a much fairer way in deciding the innocence or guilt of a person.

Assessors are legally qualified magistrates, with long experience in presiding over their own courts. When sitting in the superior court as assessors they are not mere advisors, but an integral part of the court. They have the same right as the judge to question the witnesses. Legal issues which are decided exclusively by the judge or panel of judges are evaluated prior to this decision by the assessors together with the judges, deliberating and voting with equal status. Decisions under this system seem much fairer and more reliable than under the jury system as it exists today.

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