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UNIT 7. THE VALUE OF JURIES




Falling Bastion?

How valuable is the jury in modern times? This is a very controversial question. On the one hand the jury has much ancient history behind it {though some scholars have argued it is more mythology than true history) as a bastion of the liberty of the subject against repressive governments, To a minor degree the jury can, and occasionally still does, play this role.

The jury system is the ordinary citizen's link with the legal process. It is supposed to safeguard individual liberty and justice because a commonsense decision on the facts either to punish or acquit is taken by fellow citizens rather than by professionals. But the system has been criticized because of its high acquittal rates; allegedly unsuitable or subjective jurors; intimidation of jurors; and administrative reason for saving time and costs.

Throughout the world the use of jury trials is limited. The French Revolution initiated trial by jury in continental Europe3 and this spread to other civil-law countries, but only for criminal triaJs. In the 20th century jury trials have been abandoned or eliminated in most civil-law countries. Jury trials survive primarily in the common-law countries, above allT the United States. Even there and in England jury trial has declined in favor of trial by judge. Many critics urge the curtailment or elimination of the jury trial as an amateurish and inefficient method of determining a legal issue. Critics would like to replace the jury with panels of experts in relevant fields. But, after widespread opposition to such proposals, it seems as though the jury will continue in its present form.



Just English. Английский дли юристов


TASK L Answer the following questions:

L Why is jury called 'the bastion of liberty*?

2. Why has the jury system been criticized?

3. In what countries is the jury system used? Why?

TASK 2, Comment on the following quotations. Which of them are for or against the jury system? Give your grounds:







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