The English Legal system began in the year 1215 under the Magna Carta, which was then signed by King John. Pursuant to Article 39 of the Magna Carta:”No free man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or deprived of his property, or outlawed, unless by legal judgement of his peers, or by the law of land”The English legal system falls into two categories, firstly, criminal law as to where the State accuses someone of a crime affecting the whole community.
This is called prosecution with the case taking place in the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court. The second law is the Civil Law where instead of this affecting the community it affects the individuals within the community. A civil law will then be called into action or a claim.This is the conclusion of the English legal system and its historical background.Jury trial is only allowed in four types of civil cases.
These are as follows: fraud, defamation, malicious prosecution and False imprisonment. The Supreme Court Act 1981 (section 69), allows for juries to be used in these cases mentioned above. More serious crimes however are tried in the Crown Court.The Crown Court deals with more serious criminal offences trialled by judge and jury. While Lay Magistrates sit in the Magistrates court, juries are sat in the Crown court, the High Court, the County Court and the Coroners’ Court. With the High Court being more senior it has twelve members on jury while County Court only having around eight members.
> When on jury, the people have two responsibilities as a ‘duel-role’. Not only do they decide whether the claimant (who claims a right or compensation) has won the case, but also the amount of damages the defendant (the person being sued or accused of) has to pay.Nowadays people are usually summoned for jury service by computer at a Central Summoning Bureau. It is a computerised list with everyone’s name being entered and there being electoral registers for each area. Once they have been selected, jury summons are sent out telling them to come out and attend theCrown Court case.
The Juries Act 1974 is as follows: the qualification for the jury was every person must be qualified to be a juror in the Crown court, High Court and County courts and must be able to attend to their job when needed. He/she must not be younger than 18 years or older than 70 years of age. Since the age of 13, if not a resident of the United Kingdom, must have lived in the U.K for at least 5 years.
He/she must not be mentally disordered and must not be disqualified for jury service.The case usually lasts at least 2 weeks but can run on for longer, the jurors are aware of this. The computer that holds the details of the jurors also have access to the police criminal records, so that those who are disqualified from jury service should be identified, if not and you are aware of this you can be fined up to ï¿½5000 for failure to declare this.Law has changed so that no one ineligible is to si
on the jury. Ineligible meaning not allowed applying to some rules; to vote and retirement benefits for example. A discretionary excuse is that some people may not want to attend a jury service and therefore must state their reasons in writing to the court.
The court then decides if the person should be excused or not. If you are excused, the jury service will be postponed until all the members of jury can attend. The guidance says that:The normal expectation is that everyone summoned for jury service will serve at the time for which they are summoned.However, if the person is not excused they must attend, failing to do so without permission after being summonsed he/she will risked being fined up to ï¿½1000 for non-attendance.In jury, where the more serious cases are heard, one or two procedural (where one person must say exactly what must be done and in what order), hearings may be held in private.
At this point, the defendant must then state guilty or not guilty to admitting to the crime committed. At these hearings the judge will then decide whether or not the defendant being accused should be kept in custody or released on bail to return on a specific date given.In court, the role of the jury is to agree on a verdict. Sometimes either agreeing on a majority verdict or can even agree to take a lesser majority verdict. Each juror stands as a judge that all joins together to reach their verdict together.If the defendant states not guilty, a trial date will be planned.
Where there will be evidence given out to provide proof for the case to be heard. The dates are usually forwarded to months ahead.However, the defendant can plead guilty to their faults at any time during the case. If admitted guilty, the case carries out to a sentence.Some weeks before the trial begins, a hearing may be held to confirm the date of the actual date to proceed.
If there is an interruption, the date will then be changed and fixed to another.On the trial day, the prosecutor and the defendant’s solicitor can call witnesses to defend each person for the other reason; however this doesn’t always go to plan because sometimes if a witness or the defendant is not there the trial will not go ahead.For the jury to come to a verdict on the case, they are sent to a private room to discuss the case. No one is entitled to hear the discussions, nor are the members of the jury to discuss this to anyone outside. If so, the juror is guilty of giving away details of what does not concern other persons and may therefore be fined or even sent to prison.
Once the jury have decided, they retire back to the court and the judge then tells the jurors that their decision must all be agreed on. This is called a unanimous decision.It’s not all the time the jurors agree with each other. So after the long discussion and being called back into the courtroom they still can not decide they may reach a
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