Trial By Jury

The essence of the jury system is eloquently expressed by Lord Justice Robin Auld of the United Kingdom:

We talk of “trial by jury,” but it is more accurately described as “trial by judge and jury.” It is a partnership in which the two have separate and overlapping contributions to the final outcome. The judge tells the jury what the law is and how it bears on the issues in the case; and [the jurors] apply their new-found understanding of the law to their consideration of those issues. As to the facts, while the jury has primary responsibility for finding them, the judge has much to do with that, too. He/she may be called upon to rule whether there is evidence on which the jury can arrive at a particular verdict. The judge may warn the jury to take particular care before acting on certain evidence; he/she may direct it about circumstantial evidence and as to whether, on the evidence before it, the jury can draw certain inferences. The judge notes and sums up the evidence to assist the jury in its deliberations. The resultant verdict is, therefore, a product of a “partnership” between judge and jury.

Sir Robin Auld
The Auld Report, page 136. October, 2001

Jury tradition is not only about the right of the citizen to trial by jury, but also about the juror’s duty of citizenship. It gives people an important role-as stakeholders-in the justice system. Seeing the courts in action and participating in the judicial process maintains public trust and confidence in the law.

Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws
Cited in the Auld Report