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.
The American Jury system has been around for quite some time. It was the original idea that the framers of the constitution had wanted to have implemented as a means of trying people for their illegal acts, or for civil disputes. The jury system has stood the test of time as being very effective and useful for the justice system. Now it has come into question as to if the jury system is still the best method for trials. In the justice system there are two forms of trials, one being the standard jury trial, where 12 random members of society come together to decide the outcome of something. The other option would be to have a bench trial. In a bench trial, the judge is the only one deciding the fate of the accused. While both methods are viable
A jury is a panel of citizens, selected randomly from the electoral role, whose job it is to determine guilt or innocence based on the evidence presented. The Jury Act 1977 (NSW) stipulates the purpose of juries and some of the legal aspects, such as verdicts and the right of the defence and prosecution to challenge jurors. The jury system is able to reflect the moral and ethical standards of society as members of the community ultimately decide whether the person is guilty or innocent. The creation of the Jury Amendment Act 2006 (NSW) enabled the criminal trial process to better represent the standards of society as it allowed majority verdicts of 11-1 or 10-2, which also allowed the courts to be more resource efficient. Majority verdicts still ensure that a just outcome is reached as they are only used if there is a hung jury and there has been considerable deliberation. However, the role of the media is often criticized in relation to ensuring that the jurors remain unbiased as highlighted in the media article “Independent Juries” (SMH, 2001), and the wide reporting of R v Gittany 2013 supports the arguments raised in the media article. Hence, the jury system is moderately effective in reflecting the moral and ethical standards of society, as it resource efficient and achieves just outcomes, but the influence of the media reduces the effectiveness.
"That in all capital or criminal Prosecutions, a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for Evidence and be admitted counsel in his Favor, and to a fair and speedy Trial by an impartial Jury of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, (except in the Government of the land and naval Forces in Time of actual war, Invasion or Rebellion) nor can he be compelled to give Evidence against himself. "
They are the impartial third-party whose responsibility is to deliver a verdict for the accused based on the evidence presented during trial. They balance the rights of society to a great extent as members of the community are involved. This links the legal system with the community and ensures that the system is operating fairly and reflecting the standards and values of society. A trial by jury also ensures the victim’s rights to a fair trial. However, they do not balance the rights of the offender as they can be biased or not under. In the News.com.au article ‘Judge or jury? Your life depends on this decision’ (14 November 2013), Ian Lloyd, QC, revealed that “juries are swayed by many different factors.” These factors include race, ethnicity, physical appearance and religious beliefs. A recent study also found that juries are influenced by where the accused sits in the courtroom. They found that a jury is most likely to give a “guilty” verdict if the accused sits behind a glass dock (ABC News, 5 November 2014). Juries also tend to be influenced by their emotions; hence preventing them from having an objective view. According to the Sydney Morning Herald article ‘Court verdicts: More found innocent if no jury involved’ (23 November 2013), 55.4 per cent of defendants in judge-alone trials were acquitted of all charges compared with 29 per cent in jury trials between 1993 and 2011. Professor Mark Findlay from the University of Sydney said that this is because “judges were less likely to be guided by their emotions.” Juries balance the rights of victims and society to a great extent. However, they are ineffective in balancing the rights of the offender as juries can be biased which violate the offender’s rights to have a fair
The jury system is essentially a descendant of Great Britain, the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. Colonialism played a significant role in the development of the jury system globally. However, despite colonial influence, judicial systems across the world have taken their own way. As a result, the jury system has developed and changed to suit the needs and social conscience of different countries. Across the world, juries examine and decide the facts in a jury trial, the accuracy of the testimony, the guilt or innocence of criminal defendants, and liabilities in a civil litigation. Today, many countries such as Britain, United States, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Australia, France, German, India, and so on practice jury trials. These countries will be the issue of discussion in this paper.
The jury plays a crucial role in the courts of trial. They are an integral part in the Australian justice system. The jury system brings ordinary people into the courts everyday to judge whether a case is guilty or innocent. The role of the jury varies, depending on the different cases. In Australia, the court is ran by an adversary system. In this system “..individual litigants play a central part, initiating court action and largely determining the issues in dispute” (Ellis 2013, p. 133). In this essay I will be discussing the role of the jury system and how some believe the jury is one of the most important institutions in ensuring that Australia has an effective legal system, while others disagree. I will evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a jury system.
From conception in the Magna Carta 1215, juries have become a sacred constitutional right in the UK’s justice system, with the independence of the jury from the judge established in the R v. Bushel’s case 1670. Although viewed by some as a bothersome and an unwelcomed duty, by others it is perceived to be a prized and inalienable right, and as Lord Devlin comments ‘ trial by jury is more than an instrument of justice and more than one wheel of the constitution : it is the lamp that shows freedom lives.’ It is arguable that juries bring a ‘unique legitimacy’ to the judicial process, but recently it seems that their abolition may be the next step forward for the UK in modernising and making the judicial system more effective. Many argue that jurors lack the expertise and knowledge to make informed verdicts, along with views that external forces are now influencing juries more heavily, especially after the emergence of the internet and the heavy presence it now has on our lives. Yet, corruption within the jury system is also internal, in that professionals and academics may ‘steamroll’ others during deliberations about the case. These factors, coupled with the exorbitant costs that come along with jury trials creates a solid case for the abolition of juries. On the other hand though, the jury system carries many loyal supporters who fear its abolition may be detrimental to society. Academics and professionals such as John Morris QC state that; 'it may well not be the perfect machine, but it is a system that has stood the test of time.’ Juries ensure fair-practice within the courtroom, and although controversial, they have the power to rule on moral and social grounds, rather than just legal pre...
The American Jury system had been used ever since we became a country. In fact the jury system originated from England a long time ago. The jury system is very controversial because it involves ordinary citizens making the verdict of criminal activities. Although we still use it, is it really necessary in today’s day and age. Obviously when someone is put on trial there needs to be a decision on whether they are guilty or not, but that’s why we also have a judge. Another way we can reach a verdict is through a bench trial where only the judge makes the decision. The judge is a legal expert on any present case, but the judge is the only person who makes the decision. For the most part either a bench trial or jury trial will get the job done
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