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    Juries as a Protection of Liberty

    Number of Pages: 5


    Summary of the research paper:

    This 5 page paper looks at the use of jury trials discussing their value in terms of a protection of liberty and freedoms, acting as a constraint on the governments’ use of power. The bibliography cites 12 sources.

    Name of Research Paper File: TS14_TEjuries.doc

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    way in which there is a check on the justice system and a support for liberty. Lord Phillips, the Chief justice of England, in a lecture titled "Trusting the Jury"  at the Criminal Bar Association Kalisher Lecture on 23 October 2007 observed that it is "the lamp that shows that freedom lives"1. Lord Philips may be seen as one of  a long line of supporters for jury trials, seen as a bastion of democracy that prevents too much power residing in the hands of any individual. Lord Devlin sees the  role of the jury more than the function of judgment in the court, but as a safeguard of freedom, he states; "The first object of any tyrant in Whitehall would  be to make Parliament utterly subservient to his will; and the next to overthrow or diminish trial by jury, for no tyrant could afford to leave a subjects freedom  in the hands of 12 of his countrymen. So that trial by jury is more than an instrument of justice... it is the lamp that shows that freedom lives"  (Devlin, 1988). Thomas Jefferson also agreed stating that juries were a way in which the government may be held to the principles within a constitution (Conrad, 1998). There has  been long term support for the use of juries; in 1953 The Royal Commission on Capital Punishment paid tribute to the reliability of the jury system and the common sense  that it enshrined, in 1965 the Morris Committee on Jury Service indicated that this was a desirable system (Auld, 2001). In 1993 this view was supported by the Runciman Royal  Commission but did make the suggestion that research should be undertaken, but this was to improve rather than to consider eliminating juries they are currently known (Auld, 2001). 

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