Juries and the jury system in England and Wales are fair, unbiased and balanced

Wednesday 13 June 2007 at 7:56 pm | In News | Post Comment

Research shows in particular that the jury system does not discriminate against people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds.

A four-year research study, published in June 2007 by the Ministry of Justice, shows clearly:

  1. No differences between white and black and minority ethnic people in responding positively to being summoned for jury service
  2. Black and minority ethnic groups are not significantly under-represented among those summoned for jury service or among those serving as jurors
  3. Racially-mixed juries’ verdicts do not discriminate against defendants based on their ethnicity

This unprecedented study is highly encouraging. It strongly suggests that juries and the jury system are working, and working well.

The study, Diversity and Fairness in the Jury System, carried out for the Ministry of Justice by the University of Birmingham, uses case simulation with real jurors, as well as examining the verdicts of actual juries, to try to understand jury decision-making.

The research was commissioned in June 2002 in response to the Macpherson Report published in 1999, which followed an inquiry into the Metropolitan police’s investigation of the murder of a black teenager, Stephen Lawrence.

Report here

First conviction for Familial Homicide upheld on appeal

Tuesday 5 June 2007 at 10:21 pm | In News | Post Comment
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R v JS and SM [2007] CA  This is the first prosecution under section 5 Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 (Familial Homicide) which came into force in 2005.  The offence was created to deal with situations where two or more persons could have caused the death of a child and each blames the other.  This is not part of the A level syllabus but the case is very interesting as an example of effective reform of the law of homicide.

£9.5m, compensation paid – a record pay-out

Monday 4 June 2007 at 3:22 pm | In News | Post Comment

Waseem Sarwar a 17-year-old A-level student was a back seat passenger involved in a car accident.

His skull and spine injuries have left him severely disabled. He will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life at a cost of almost £180,000 a year.

He was not wearing a seat belt and the driver was not insured. The Motor Insurers Bureau, the industry body that compensates victims of uninsured drivers, will pay the compensation.

Mr Justice Lloyd Jones assessed Waseem’s damages at £9,544,628 the biggest ever award made by a UK court in a personal injury case.

The award will be reduced by 25%, to £7,158,471,because not wearing a seat-belt is contributory negligence. Nevertheless, it remains among the highest payouts ever made.

The money will be paid in the form of a lump sum of more than £2.8 million. Periodical payments will cover his care costs.

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