The English Jury on Trial

Dominic Willmott, Daniel Boduszek, Nigel Booth

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


    Within the English criminal justice system, trial by jury remains the gold standard means of delivering justice. The complex mix of evidence against those accused, alongside testimony, which challenges the police interpretation of the facts, is thought to be resolved simply through exposure to a jury of our peers. Of course in practice, things are unlikely to be so simple. In fact, discussing jury decisions with any police officer typically results in the same opinion being expressed: that the only predictable feature of the jury – is their unpredictability.
    Nonetheless, in the aftermath of a verdict being returned, the typical response from the public and the press alike, is one of unwavering acceptance. Irrespective of the media’s portrayal of a defendant pre-trial (often rooted in a presumption of guilt), once the jury has decided otherwise, rarely will this be challenged. Public opinion polls consistently display high levels of support for trial by jury, with more than 80% of British citizens strongly advocating use of the system. Likewise, those working within the judiciary, appear to share such a view. The previous Attorney General Dominic Grieve, responsible for all prosecutions brought in England until mid-2014, stated the jury system to be an essential feature of British justice, “deeply ingrained in our national DNA”.
    Original languageEnglish
    Specialist publicationCustodial Review
    Publication statusPublished - May 2017


    • Jury
    • jury decision making
    • rape


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