Essay on Change to the Jury System

860 Words 4 Pages
Recently there have been critical calls to fix Queensland’s jury system. The current jury system is said to be outdated and as Ian Turnball (2001) states “Our jury system is a legacy of England's distant past.” However for a change to occur, an investigation of the history, strengths and weaknesses of the jury system must be made. To then allow a discussion of the alternative strategies or recommendations to improve the effectiveness system.

The right to trial by jury was enabled when the constitution of Queensland was passed in 1867. A jury is a group of 12 citizens chosen to represent the society and listen to the trial of an indictable offence. They are required to decide, based on the evidence and facts presented at trial, the
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Consequently society feels more involved in the justice system. However with these strengths in the system also brings plenty of weaknesses.

Perhaps the biggest weakness to the current jury system is that it relies upon the human mind to produce a fair outcome. With twelve people of different backgrounds, beliefs and life situations, impartiality cannot be guaranteed; in addition their judgement may be clouded due to pre-trial publicity. The entire panel of jurors agreeing upon the same verdict can often be unrealistic; therefore jurors may experience pressure from other jurors to decide alike. These strengths and weaknesses spark arguments for and against the current system.

There are countless arguments for and against the current jury system. An argument against the existing system is that jury duty interrupts with work and personal lives. In addition to this, the procedure can often be time consuming and expensive. Despite these arguments many Australians want the system retained. They argue that decisions of fact and what a reasonable person would do should be left to the community. They also believe that by allowing ordinary people into the justice system it keeps the system fair and less prone to corruption. From these arguments, both for and against the system, alternative strategies can be recommended and considered.

There are many alternate strategies to improve the jury system; some include abolishing the jury

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